Keep The Plan Simple,
Easy To Understand,
and Use Common Sense
By NORMAN HARRIS, CBCP, CRP
Thomas Paine, one of the found- ing fathers, around the time of the American Revolution wrote a document, called “The Crisis.”
We have all heard one of the famous lines
in this document many times, “These are
the times that try men’s souls.”
A little later he wrote a document for the
army titled “Common Sense.” In spite of
the fact that both of these documents were
written by a patriot and dreamer more than
200 years ago, we might believe the titles
are about the disaster recovery/business
continuity industry today.
Business continuity planners are similar to Thomas Paine in that their profession and ideals are new. The profession of
business continuity planner has only been
around in the business world for a little
more than 35 years. It only started coming
into its own when organizations become
very dependent on computers. Disaster
recovery/business continuity planning
(DR/BCP) as a profession by all standards
is new to the business world, and the discipline it requires is still being debated.
The DR/BCP profession and the recovery
planning professionals who make up the
industry are “the new kids on the block”
when compared to most other professions
and/or disciplines such as sales, accounting, human resources, or auditing.
As the new organizational unit on the
organization chart (and having very few
if anyone in the organization that really
knows what the business continuity planner
brings to the table) the business continuity
planner is almost always in an uphill battle
for a place of influence in the organization.
One of our main challenges is to make sure
that everyone understands that recovery
planning resembles the founding fathers
and the American Revolution. If they made
mistakes, the Union could not survive; if
business continuity planners make mistakes, the organization might not survive.
In more than 30 years of consulting, I
have helped nearly 1,000 clients develop
their plans and presented hundreds of seminars and classes to thousands of attendees/
students. During this time many of these
clients, former students, and colleagues
kept urging me to share my approach to
disaster recovery/business continuity.
So a few years ago I decided to ask my
long-time senior associate Tracy Cowan to
assist me in the development of the “BCP
Made Simple” set of tools (DVDs, semi-nars/classes, and software). Needless to
say, we used the common sense method.
Over the years I have found the common
sense method to be the real answer to effec-
tive recovery planning. If the job is done right
the first time, it will not have to be repeated
every three to five years. If the job is done
right, it need only be updated and enhanced.