UW Emergency Management

November 29, 2018

Build Your Plan in a Year: Month 11

This post is part of a 2018 series breaking the process of business continuity planning for University of Washington departments into monthly tasks to help build a plan in a year.

Congratulations–you have written your first version of your continuity plan! At this point you have drafted, reviewed and revised your plan–what more could there be?

Before I answer that, it’s important that I first remind you that there is no such thing as a “complete” continuity plan. That is because things (operations, people) change–we adjust for new duties, we reflect on what was written before and make changes, we find issues with the plan, and we test the plan and identify changes. This month and next will be focused on those final two pieces: identifying any issues that keep the plan from meeting compliance with APS 13.2 and hosting the first test (we call them exercises) of your plan.

Month 11: Review with UWEM

Total estimated time: 5 minutes

Only 5 minutes? Yup! That is as much time as it will take for you to email our BARC manager at levym2@uw.edu and request a review of your plan. Reviews take about two weeks (three to four weeks if your plan is detailed or has more than 10 critical functions).

When UWEM reviews plans, we are looking at two factors:

  1. Does the plan meet the requirements of APS 13.2?
  2. Are there gaps in the plan?
Does the plan meet the requirements of APS 13.2?

This is essential–the last thing you want is to go through all the work of building a plan just to be told it isn’t done and won’t count. This compliance check will look at four key elements/sections:

  1. Are critical functions listed and a level of criticality assigned to each? (In your plan under “Critical Functions”)
  2. Have you identified an alternate facility at which you will resume operations if your normal building is unavailable? (In your plan under “Key Resources: Facilities & Transportation”)
  3. Have you identified staffing requirements for critical functions that can account for a 25% reduction in staffing? (In your plan under “Key Resources: Staffing Requirements”)
  4. Has everyone on your team received personal preparedness training? (Upload a training log to your plan in “Key Resources: Documents”)
Are there gaps in the plan?

You are an expert on your business, but that doesn’t mean you have written a business continuity plan before. Often when people write these plans they focus on answering the questions, but don’t fill in the details of HOW a task will be completed. For example, you might plan to work from home, but you don’t say who can work from home, how often you test this capability, or how soon after an event you expect staff to log in. When we review your plan, we will ask questions and provide recommendations based on our experience building business continuity plans.