In today’s high-pressure and limited-resource environment, it’s easy for a BCM practitioner to be overrun with just managing the program and addressing external influences. Audit requests and questionnaires can pull you in all directions and before you know it, you’ve had to push back everything you planned to do that day, week or even month.
How do you address this state of things? How do you prioritize your task list?
We’ve put together a 6-step process for taking control of, organizing, and simplifying your BCM program workflow; effectively streamlining your BCM program without creating any gaps.
1. Inventory all of the program initiatives (policy, plans, strategies, audits, BIAs, etc.) you are currently working on.
Understanding what initiatives are active (and necessary) is the first step to managing work efforts. This knowledge will drive the overall program requirements. As part of your review, you must determine the priority of these initiatives to come to a vision of what needs to be accomplished beyond your day-to-day activities.
2. List all of the tasks you and your team members perform.
Now that you have a list of initiatives and priorities, identify the tasks associated with them. Ensure all the activities and tasks are identified, including any maintenance or troubleshooting time.
3. Review your task list and categorize tasks by essential and non-essential
The idea here is to call out tasks that allow you to make the highest possible contribution. Ask yourself which tasks provide the greatest return on compliance, resiliency and maturity. Categorize the tasks as either essential or non-essential.
Now that you have a list of the overall project priorities and all the tasks necessary to support those projects and initiatives, you can go to work to prioritize those tasks which must be accomplished. Within the priority projects, focus on those items that will improve the overall functional capability of recovery (for both business and technology), reduce risk related to compliance or other high risk and threats, and make the organization more resilient.
That does not mean the non-essential tasks will not be performed; those non-essential tasks will be addressed in the next step.
4. Determine what to do with the tasks: eliminate, postpone, outsource, include in the plan
Now that you have a good understanding of what needs to be accomplished, you must ensure that there are appropriate resources available to perform and complete them. For those non-essential tasks, one option may be to eliminate or postpone them. After determining which tasks can be postponed or eliminated, now determine which resources can or should perform the remaining tasks. What tasks could be best accomplished by a third party – due to expertise, cost, or availability? Assign the remaining tasks based on internal capacity and capability. Some tasks could be assigned to teams that may not have ownership, but do have the capability and capacity to perform them.
5. Generate a program roadmap with the most essential initiatives that will heighten the sophistication and maturity of your program
Create a roadmap of summary activities or accomplishments that can be mapped to the detailed tasks and assignments. This will help keep you focused on the vision of what will provide maturity and functional capability so you don’t get lost in the details.
Review and revise priorities and task assignments based on what is essential and brings the highest possible contribution.
This process should be a regular activity to ensure that the initiatives and detailed activities continue to evolve to provide increased functional capability and maturity. As the priorities of the business change or markets shift, it is critical to ensure that the BCM program matches those requirements. Once you have completed the initial plan, reviewing and revising it should remain one of your essential tasks.
Today’s thoughts are less about BCM concepts and more about management and organization. At MHA, we focus on vision and having a clear understanding of where you need to go. Once you understand the why, the how becomes easier, and the what is clear. The steps outlined above will help you understand the why, how, and what of your BCM program. Only then can you determine the who and the when for your organization. We have seen businesses that try to identify the who and the when first, and while they may accomplish something, they often lose track of the why or what, leading to many spinning wheels with little direction. If you keep the essentials tasks prioritized, streamlining your BCM program will come naturally.