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Our deep misunderstanding of time in preparedness planning

Time is often at the very heart of any discussion of business continuity and IT disaster recovery. However, there are deep flaws in many attempts to incorporate time into preparedness planning. These avoidable and correctable flaws lead to frustrated participants, disengaged managers, wasted effort.

In the latest edition of the Business Continuity Institute's Working Paper Series, David Lindstedt asserts that time is not a target; rather, it is a constraint. While it has its place in preparedness planning, time does not warrant its central focus in our methodology or practice.

The paper concludes that, when considering time, ‘it depends’ is now a perfectly acceptable answer from the planning participant, and accepting this answer allows the planning practitioner to be more receptive, adaptive, and effective. The approach enables participants to self-assess restrictions rather than relying on the practitioner to facilitate the assessment of time requirements, thus allowing the practitioner to engage at a more strategic level.

In practical terms, the professional avoids any potential confrontation with regard to discussions about time. In theoretical terms, the professional does not fall into any traps, as time is discussed only as a constraint to recovery activities, not a target that has to be set without the proper ability to do so. And in financial terms, the organization will not waste money preparing to hit targets of time that are arbitrary at best and misleading at worst.

Download the working paper (registration required).


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