Business Continuity Steering Committee Success

This information is from my new book, The Ultimate Business Continuity Success Guide: How to Build Real-World Resilience and Unleash Exciting New Value Streams. Happily it is now Amazon’s #1 searched business continuity book. I hope you enjoy the chapter. and the book.

Business Continuity Steering Committee Success:

How to Always Be Aligned With Your Steering Committee

Your steering committee typically consists of upper management decision makers. They are crucial to the success of your program. They have the final decision as to program expectations and budgetary decisions.

Meet with your steering committee early and often. Certainly, before you begin the Process Owner BIA meetings. Schedule steering committee meetings on a
regular basis. I typically begin with bi-weekly or monthly meetings.  Get the meetings on upper managements schedules well in advance. Be real, some months they may have to skip a meeting – these are typically very busy people.

I am always respectful of steering committee members time, as I am of all employee’s time. Hey, I promise you business continuity is not the top thing on their minds. Of course, you and I know how critical it is.

Have the meetings when there are important items to discuss. On the other hand, if there is nothing to discuss, either cancel the meeting or make it a short and sweet touch-point meeting. They will appreciate the brevity. They will know when you do have a meeting, important stuff will be discussed.

You must clearly understand the steering committee member’s goals and expectations. Do they expect business-as-usual (BAU) recovery time-frames or do they prefer that you develop cost effective recovery strategies aligning to the critical business processes recovery needs, although perhaps not BAU?

For example, if the steering committee expects all employees to be working day one instead of only a smaller percentage (the critical recovery employees) you must design recovery strategies with redundant locations and equipment to meet these expectations. Possibly hot sites with shadow staff. This will likely come at a high cost in comparison to ‘keeping the business going’ but not business as usual.

Agreeing on expectations will insure there are no surprises later on.  You will be able to partner with the process owners to develop recovery strategies that will align with the goals of your organization.

Tip – I have found process owner’s recovery expectations stated during the BIA interviews line up fairly accurately with management’s expectations.  Some very time-sensitive processes do truly require real-time recovery, such as:

  • Investment security traders – must have very aggressive RTO and 100% staff
  • Customer service – must have very aggressive RTO and high percentage staff
  • Security – aggressive RTO and 100% staff
  • Safety – aggressive RTO and 100% staff
  • Facilities – aggressive RTO and 100% staff (plow snow, melt ice, building assessments)

Tip – For most processes your marching orders may be – ‘we do not require business as usual, rather we want to maintain continuity of our operations.’

Whatever you hear get it in writing. It may come in handy later. Make sure you communicate upper management’s expectations accurately to the process owners. Do not give process owners false expectations that 100% of their employees will be part of the recovery team on Day 1, unless they will.

Coming up… more tips for business continuity management success