When does a plan become a book?

It has always amazed me how large, thick and cumbersome some business continuity and crisis management plans can become. So it got me thinking, “when does a plan become a book”? I am keen to hear your thoughts…

A number of years ago a friend and I were at a client when I heard a saying that has tuck with me ever since – “The folder sits on the shelf and goes to binder heaven”. How true that is for 90% of plans. We put in so much effort to put the BCM programme in place and then the folders sit on the shelf and indeed do go to binder heaven.

This is why, a number of years ago I threw myself into Bamboo – the world’s first true smartphone app for BCM… that was 3 years ago and yet a year on from it being sold, I am seeing more and more clients who still fall into the binder trap. Things need to change.

I go on and on about modernising the BCM industry and I really think that should start with planning itself. I even heard of someone being recommended a Battle Box… that is so 1990 people, don’t you think? In the age of smartphones and connectivity do we really need that?

So it gets back to the plans. Why can’t they be simple, easy to use and light? What information do we really need for a plan? some guidance, contacts and must do steps…anything else? not in the initial phase of an incident.  To achieve this you need one page!!! I have done it and seen it used during an incident very effectively. I have never seen the accompanying appendices and binder being used – have you?

I would like to pose a challenge to you – if you ever see me making a plan that even comes close to a book or going to binder heaven, remind me of this post!

4 thoughts on “When does a plan become a book?”

  1. The Binder Trap. To move beyond the binder, beyond the plan, it is often necessary to move the culture of the receiving organisation forward in other ways. Business Continuity/Risk Migration/Business Resilience should be, wherever possible, seamlessly merged within the operational activities of the organisation concerned; providing ongoing clarity of operational actions and of operational resource needs. One of the most powerful outcomes from any Business Continuity exercises, should be how the information and learnings gained can be directly applied to the existing operational activities.

    1. I 100% agree with you. There is little point in going through an exercise or test and then not taking what was learnt and feeding it back into the system. Thanks for getting involved in the conversation.

  2. Fully support your views Craig regarding the common "trap" of so many organisations that invest so much time and effort in creating a cumbersome and overly complicated set of recovery plans. The days of creating "War and Peace" and having prescriptive sets of recovery procedures are a thing of the past and it is my experience that today’s "users" are wanting a simplified set of checklists and key action lists that will enable them to start the response and recovery process. My other "pet dislike" is the number of BC Plans that are typically a combination of Policy and Process and the user (i.e. reader) of the materials, that is reliant on the content to support their response and recovery actions, has to go to page 25+ to actually identify the initial and immediate key response actions and activation processes to enable the Team to commence the response and recovery process. Keep up the good work in this matter and endeavouring to eradicate "old habits".

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