The high risk for companies wanting to continue business as usual (BAU) during lockdown has materialized for many.
The virus’ effect on business has been significant, especially recognizing the need to maintain services and customer satisfaction or face losing customers. Numerous organizations didn’t have the right infrastructure for working remotely, so a new focus on disaster recovery is necessary to future proof themselves.
However, this is also an opportunity to save costs and expand ways of working. That should include simulation activities to test operational capability if a similar scenario happens again, plus learning lessons about how time and money and can be allocated more effectively.
Organizations will have either had a disaster recovery plan in place or not. So, what do they need to do now and how can project management help them?
Lessons learned and improving the plan
Capturing lessons learned and designing a new disaster recovery plan needs a project to improve processes.
Every organization should have resources allocated to disaster recovery; reviewing internal and external threats to ensure things continue running smoothly. It’s about enabling BAU to remain operational without firefighting.
Having a dedicated project for this will task a specific team with capturing lessons learned and ensure someone owns them. If the organization isn’t learning from recent events, it will keep making the same mistakes.
The information that is filtered from this project activity might also identify a longer-term programme of work.
Creating a plan from scratch
For organizations that had no back-up plan before COVID-19, they will need to create the capability to respond to disaster scenarios in future.
Companies need to learn to adapt to significant change and this requires the right approach from leadership.
Similar to those organizations that are improving an existing disaster recovery plan, they need to look at lessons learned: what could staff have done better and how can they improve processes?
This is probably a good time for younger, smaller organizations to lead the way and innovate. They should be able to learn from experience, adopt agile approaches to make changes and deliver benefits on a daily basis.
Creating a better environment – training and development
Planning for organizational change and disaster recovery in response to the pandemic will rely on employees having the best skills and tools.
Therefore, training and development is needed more than ever. People are the ones who will drive change and training, while it makes them more well-rounded, also gives them the skills to add value.
I’ve been delivering PRINCE2® training for the past few weeks and the structure, accountability and responsibility in the method is clear, unambiguous and creates a sense of being in control – and that’s a better environment to create at a time of uncertainty.
When organizations need to make major changes quickly – using rigorous, trusted best practice which is equally flexible – it allows them to tailor the project management method to their situation.
While organizations are often populated with people working in many different ways and without control, having a method like PRINCE2 introduces the necessary consistency.