Having a business continuity plan in place is all well and good, and an important part of preparing for any potential disruption in business, but if the plan sits on a shelf collecting dust, what good is it really doing? For a BC plan to truly thrive, it needs to be practiced, regularly.
Organizations that perform well-planned exercises get better results when faced with the real event. It makes sense, but often companies fail to move forward with exercising plan implementation. When you regularly run tabletop, functional and even full scale exercises, drilling on all aspects of your plan, it becomes nearly muscle memory for your staff in the event of an actual incident.
Running an Effective Exercise
To make the most of your practice runs, there are a few things you need to have in line. Everyone on your team will need a copy of the BC plan and the tasks and roles assigned to them, as well as context for where their roles and tasks fit within the larger scheme of things.
Whether you’re running a tabletop, functional, or full-scale exercise of the plan, ensuring everyone is in the know and understands how to execute their portion of the plan will determine the overall success of the exercise.
Of course it’s not enough just to run the exercise. An effective exercise also includes the feedback and adjustment portion, known as the after action review. After running an exercise, your business continuity plan should be reviewed, updated, and modified based on the outcome and results experienced during the exercise. If you never took the time to practice your plan, you’d never know where critical adjustments need to be made. Those adjustments, however large or small, may mean the difference between a plan that works when crisis arises and a plan that leaves your team unprepared and scrambling for the missing pieces.
What to Adjust
There are a number of things that may need to be modified after you run a drill. Perhaps your checklists and outlined mission essential functions aren’t comprehensive enough. Maybe critical steps weren’t documented or identified previously. Wherever the holes in the plan are, now’s your chance to fill them before a real event.
How to Use This Information
Practicing your business continuity plan on a regular basis also allows team members to utilize support tools, whether they are fully integrated emergency notification and incident management systems or just conferences bridges and shared drives. It’s important to remember that technology should help speed resolution rather than hinder the BC team’s effectiveness. For more information on the tools all BC managers need to operate at maximum efficiency, check out the full whitepaper or contact us to learn more about MissionMode’s approach to incident management.
MissionMode is the trusted leader in providing organizations with an effective and reliable emergency notification and incident management system specifically designed to handle your needs from end to end. Our Situation Center Suite acts as a virtual command center in times of crisis, helping your organization stay on track through both emergencies or more routine operations by enabling your team to effectively communicate and project manage incidents from onset to resolution. The MissionMode Notification Center allows our clients to send two-way multimodal notifications to employees during times of crisis.
From incident management to mass notification to interactive field communications, mobile control, integrated weather planning and more, MissionMode’s team of seasoned and certified emergency managers and business continuity practitioners are dedicated to being an intuitive and easy to use partner in your incident management and mass communication needs.