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Crisis Management Methodology
15 May 2019
by Daniel-Jean Simard

INTRODUCTION

Unfortunately, crisis situations occur … don’t you remember that call at 2am when you were told that the AC shut down in the computer room … or that smoke is coming out the building … or simple as your production servers crashed and your DR is not working. Crisis Management. I have a feeling you got out of bed with a big smile on your face! … I’m sure.

But in order to keep that smile we must be prepared, structured and be able to deal with these difficult situations.

(Quick note: This document is by no mean a training on the methodology but a high-level description so that you can understand the essence. Also, this is one version of a Crisis Management Methodology and there are several out there following different approaches with different flavours. You are free to pick and choose and even combine.)

 

WHAT

I don’t think I need to explain to you what a Crisis is … also referred to as catastrophe, disaster, emergency, trouble … you get the jest of it. But what we want to convey here is how do you place yourself in a situation of control.

Keep in mind that Managing a Crisis is not how you resolve it … these are two different things.

The methods discussed here are for any type of crisis.

 

WHEN

This is an obvious answer, you start your CRISIS MANAGEMENT as soon as your emergency happens … so you must have that in place before hand.

 

HOW

Now that is a good question … not because it’s difficult to answer but because, as stated previously, we tend to mix the approach with the solution.

 

GOLDEN RULES

  • Keep it focused on the approach only.
  • Evaluate different scenarios before finalizing on a method.

 

ORGANIZE

One of the Primary goals in managing a Crisis is to be able to manage your time efficiently (you can refer to my blog about Time Management Methodology for some pointers).

And in order to do so, you need to have an approach. Here are the major artifacts to put in place.

 

 

 

GOLDEN RULES

  • Pre-Build Communication Templates.
  • Separate End User Communication from Management Communication.
  • Try to keep a Schedule for your communication … it helps in managing expectations and also creates a comfort level that things are progressing.
  • … Oh, and keep it POSITIVE … without being overly sweet (… so mix some real sugar with some substitute!)

 

 

GOLDEN RULES

  • Keep that list REGULARY updated with all contact information.
  • CATEGORISE your vendors/partners by skillsets/expertise … this will make it a lot easier to figure out who to call.
  • Always have at least ONE BACKUP for each vendors/partners skillsets/expertise.

 

 

GOLDEN RULES

  • A good way of managing your Crisis is to follow the AGILE methodology: pre-build a series of User Stories and Tasks which can be followed during the process.
  • Pre-assigned TEAMS to those User Stories … don’t worry about the Tasks, you will assign them during the execution.
  • Assume a DELIVERY OF DONE for each day … so, yep, we’re talking ONE DAY iterations … Don’t laugh.

 

 

GOLDEN RULES

  • It is recommended to review your methods twice a year.

 

BUT… CAN I MAKE IT BETTER?

Fine … now you know the major artifacts which should be part of your CRISIS MANAGEMENT, but shouldn’t you also think about minimizing such emergencies?

There are new tools and approach in the market which can help an organization to deal with unfortunate situations, and as part of your introspective (you can refer to my blog about Journey Management for more information), it would be a good thing to look at those options such as the cloud, virtualization and so on.

The maturity of these tools has increased ten-fold and can drastically minimize the impact to your organization in case of trouble.  We don’t want our company to be down … our users and our customers are, for most of us, our livelihood.

So keep that in mind … plan to make your life easier.

 

CONCLUSION

Catastrophes can happen … we all know that.  Hope you learned a few hints … especially the last one … PLAN TO MINIMIZE possible troubles by going through a review of what you could change in your IT and technology to make it easier.

Best of luck!

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