Five Mistakes of Business Continuity Management

The business continuity management process can be fraught with pitfalls, causing managers and team members alike any number of problems when crafting a program. While the possible mistakes are many, including unrealistic expectations, too many consultants, silo management, IT leading the process, and the absence of a multi-year maturity plan among others, below we’ve outlined the five most common mistakes made with most business continuity management programs.

1. Not Enough Detail—Many plans don’t go into enough detail. When details are clearly defined, the most important aspects of the business can be zeroed in on and a plan can be created that is nimble and cost effective. Granular analysis helps planners to discover the optimal balance of cost and impact.
2. Ignoring the Standards—Emergency preparedness standards have been rapidly changing, increasing in scope and minimum requirements yearly since 2004. The current standards landscape is littered with dozens of standards, with disparate elements across the board. The complexity of the standards landscape causes many continuity management planners to ignore standards completely. Rather than disregarding standards, we recommend the Sloan Framework for Voluntary Preparedness Crosswalk of Standards, Guidelines and Best Practices, Appendix C as the standards outlined there are a relative average of the many standards available.
3. It's About Me—Often, business continuity management program planners become married to the process, and the resulting plan serves that particular stakeholder’s interests over all others. Managers need to remember that BCM programs serve the business and not the planner’s individual departmental needs.
4. Forgetting the Audience—Many times during BCM program development, planners begin to assume that everybody involved is interested in and values the same things as the planner. Often, the planner tells stakeholders what they should be interested in rather than listening to stakeholder needs. Focus on getting to the root of stakeholder needs during the data collection process so that the solution can be tailored to their needs, not those of the business continuity management planner.
5. No Execution Focus—The single biggest portion of preparedness is the ability to execute. Planners need to ensure that the plan that is devised is actually executable. Often, plans fail to account for human factors during a disaster, including how far people are expected to go during a disaster, as well as other factors such as logistics issues and realistic timelines. By focusing on what is actually executable and what will actually be executed on in a real event, plans can be tailored to best serve the business during disaster recovery.