During our recent Women in BCM – Ask Betsy webinar, we encouraged you to send in your burning questions for our presenter, BCM veteran Betsy Sayers, MBCP, and you delivered! We’re pleased to present the first in a multi-part Q&A series.
Q: When looking at telecom providers, is there anything you/others have learned to look for specific to business continuity?
Betsy: I haven’t done any telecom contracting in several years, so my information may well be out of date, but for sure there is one MAJOR thing to look out for that jumped into my head right away when I read your question. If you are contracting with more than one supplier and think you have redundant routing, be very, very careful. At least here in Canada, providers use each other’s networks all the time to achieve better area coverage. So I contracted with company A and then for redundancy contracted with company B only to discover that both A & B were either using the same antenna on the same tower, the same fiber link, or switching stations for a portion of the network I needed.
You also need to clearly understand your company’s emergency level needs for bandwidth, etc., versus what the vendor is able to “guarantee” (LOL) under emergency conditions when everything is almost immediately overloaded.
Don’t forget when someone says “Don’t worry the Blackberry will still work” they probably mean pin to pin and live phone only – no email, no other apps, etc. Just be sure to clarify every single thing you can think of and remember – there is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to these complex technical requirements, definitions and contract providers. They all have their own unique package of services that make it hard to price compare efficiently. You can easily overlook something that seems VERY BASIC, but is an “add-on” with this provider.
Q: Are there any examples or resources where we can go to learn how to become better at stoplight status reports?
Betsy: Stoplight reporting is not a new idea. It has been used as a project management tool for many years. Don’t hesitate to google “stoplight status reporting” for a ton of examples and additional information.
About the best (and shortest) explanation I’ve seen is available here.
All I have done to optimize this well known Project Management tool is to apply the DRI Professional Practice (PP) content as the activity that needs to be performed. I have varying levels of charts for different audiences. For example:
- Service owners get the chart that has ALL activities/tasks outlined for that BCM PP in it (e.g. risk; BIA etc.)
- My Steering Committee (C level Exec) get only a summary chart that shows each of the 10 professional practices and the status of each Service.
Depending on the client I am helping at the time, the colours will be associated with a Capability Maturity Model (CMM)* for their industry. For example, Gartner; ITIL; ISO standards etc.
I admit to liking Gartner’s version for Overview for IT Program and Portfolio Management as an example of an easily adapted CMM, but there are many more that may be better suited for your needs. For more information go to: The PPM Maturity Model
If there are no capability maturity models to align your colour codes to, then I recommend to clients we use a very simple 4 colour model.
- RED = not sufficiently started to assess progress;
- ORANGE = started but major challenges – will not complete on time;
- YELLOW = completed but not tested/exercised so content and/or capability is theoretical only;
- GREEN = completed and exercised with gaps/opportunities for improvement completed.
*The original ‘Capability Maturity Model (CMM) was developed at Carnegie Mellon University as a military software development framework. The concept of a CMM has been reused millions of time over the years to support and manage all kinds of complex programs and projects.
Hope this is helpful… if you attend DRI2019 in Las Vegas, don’t hesitate to say hello!
And don’t forget to download Betsy’s list of handy phrases from the DRI Resource Library!