Crisis Event Documentation—A Key Component of Crisis Management and Leadership

Michael Herrera

Do you have a standardized documentation process for your Crisis Management Team?  If you don’t, this is for you!  It is important to have a standardized process for crisis team members to follow when it comes to documenting and reporting status during an event.  Nobody likes to document, so be prepared for some grief!  Here are some steps that should be taken that will ensure a smooth-running process.

  1. There should be a simple Event Reporting form that captures the “who, what, when and where” of the situation being reported.  It should be self-explanatory and require minimal training to use. Crisis Management Team members must be trained in its’ use and be strongly advised that more documentation is desirable than less during an event.
  2. A person or persons should be assigned to assemble the completed Event Reporting forms, summarize them, and produce a rollup report for the Crisis Team Leader of the highest priority issues on a regularly scheduled basis (e.g., every 4 hours, etc.).  Project management and / or Audit personnel are good at performing this role.
  3. A standardized Incident Action Plan (IAP) template should be documented and be ready for the Crisis Team Leader to outline the team’s actions to be taken in the next shift based on the current state of the event (e.g., recovery status, people, systems, etc.).
  4. The Crisis Team Leader must use a standardized agenda to brief Senior Management and the Crisis Management Team on the open events and the Incident Action Plan for the next operational period (e.g., 8 hours, 24 hours, etc.).  A standardized briefing agenda ensures that key status updates are presented in a consistent manner and minimize the potential for omissions, etc.
  5. Last, once the event is over, a comprehensive after action report should be documented using the information gathered and documented by the Crisis Management Team and provided to all entities requiring it (e.g., Legal, Insurance, etc.).

Remember, documenting where you are at and where you need to be is critical to an effective Crisis Management and Leadership process.  You should exercise your documentation process at all mock disaster exercises to ensure it improves over time.

About MHA:  MHA Consulting, with its’ decade-long track record, is a proven leader in business continuity planning, disaster recovery planning, IT best practices and data center moves and relocations.  Everyday, MHA helps protect trillions of dollars of global-market assets and top companies around the world rely on MHA services for the continuity of their business.  For more information on how MHA can help you, contact Michael Herrera at herrera@mha-it.com.

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