Month Five: Review your Critical Functions

Review your Critical Functions

At the end of each year, it’s a great time to reflect on the past months and see where things stand. In the Year of PACK Ready Planning effort, we have completed four months, each with different elements. More recently, we have been looking your organization’s critical functions, which is the heart of planning really. Identifying and prioritizing these critical work of your organization, department, or unit, and addressing the ways to continue that work despite a major disruption is the whole point of a continuity of operations plan. That is why we are devoting this month to a review of the work that has already been done–and it’s short!

Step 1 – What’s Good and What needs some help! 

Let’s start simple. The idea is to review what you’ve already compiled and see if you now think it’s ready to use!

Start with staffing and communications and ask:

1. Have we hired new people?

2. Have we changed the communication process?

3. If yes to either of the above, then time to update your call lists and communication trees!

Then, read through all the resources you compiled and see if they make sense, asking:

1. Do we have new processes or procedures that need to be added, that require resources?

2. Do we have the resources on this list?

3. Do we need something else? If yes, add that resource and determine how to get it!

Next, read each of the critical functions you have populated and consider the following:

1. Does the level of criticality make sense? Now that all the functions have been populated, consider whether the criticality ratings reflect what must be brought online first to support the other critical functions.

2. Looking over the survival concepts with these critical functions, do any of these decisions you’ve made interfere with one another? Talk with the people who do this work each day–do they agree with the assumptions you have made and the processes you have laid out?

Step 2 – Updates based on decision making

After filling in the questions above, you may have discovered key skills, partners, equipment and systems you require to do your work that did not include on your first pass of these sections. Review the information that may have been affected by the decision making you have made while crafting your critical functions.

Step 3 – Prioritize Your Action Items

At this point, you have been creating Action Items for four months. Now is a good time to review them, identify which need to be addressed this year and which should be pushed into the future, and assign any of those that need to be addressed in the short term.

This month is short, and mostly focuses on review, to allow you the time to catch up on the critical functions and devote the significant time required to think through the critical functions in detail. However, it is always best to remember that it is better to have the starts of a plan then no plan. We will review this plan each year and each year develop deeper and more thorough solutions.

This post is part of a series breaking down the process of emergency preparedness and mission continuity planning for NC State departments into monthly tasks to help build a plan in a year.