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[CM] Step 5: Manage the CMP Process

A crisis management (CM) project can be a significant undertaking, even with a limited scope. The CM project should be broken down into discrete phases to keep it manageable.


The CM planning process below provides a basic overview of such phases. Like another planning process, it provides a framework of requirements, effort, and deliverables, each leading into the next "phase" of an endlessly repeating cycle. In real life, many of these phases may be conducted simultaneously.


While this process does provide visual clues as to the amount of time and changing emphasis within a phase, these are for reference and do not represent an absolute percentage of the time. In the following dialogue, I will briefly explain the CM planning process.

Moh Heng Goh
Crisis Management Certified Planner-Specialist-Expert

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IC_More_Step 5A CM project plan should be established to manage the tasks, deadlines, and deliverables. The significant phases of a typical CM project are shown below.

A description of each phase will be elaborated further.

Project Management

New BCM Planning MethodologyThe Project Management phase aims to start the CM project in your organisation. It primarily educates your Executive Management about CM's purpose, process, and importance.

Notice that this CM planning methodology is aligned closely with the BCM Planning Methodology.  This will permit the "sharing" of information with the respective teams.

It is deliberate, as the objective is to align the CM planning process with the BCM planning process. An example is the "Risk Analysis and Review" phase, which identifies threats or "disasters." In crisis management, a similar phase, "Crisis Scenario Risk Assessment, " identifies threats or crisis scenarios.

The first step in implementing CM is to set up the required CM management structure to support the implementation process, seek the commitment and resources from the senior management and their heads of business units, to involve its staff members as CM planning team members.

The Organisation CM Coordinator (or equivalent of the CM Project Manager) will develop the implementation framework, confirm the business units and functions to be included in the CM project, and determine the roles and responsibilities of each CM team members for the entire project to ensure its timely completion.

The Organisation CM coordinator will also draw up a CM project initiation proposal for the executive management, elaborating on the mission, scope, assumptions, limitations, composition of the CM teams, roles and responsibilities, and project schedule.

This book was written explicitly for the project management phase.

Risk Analysis and Review (Crisis Scenario Risk Assessment)

A risk analysis identifies the type of threats/risks that an organisation or a specific location is likely to encounter. It examines the physical infrastructure within the building and a particular surrounding.

New call-to-actionThe Crisis Scenario Risk Assessment identifies the crisis scenarios.

Each crisis category is assigned a relative weightage and estimated duration. A statement of risk is completed, determining which areas should be examined further so that countermeasures may be deployed to mitigate the risks.

 Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

After the Crisis Scenario Risk Assessment phase, the CM Team will interact with the BCM Team.  The organisation BCM team would have undertaken a BIA. BIA determines the cost of not being able to continue transacting business. The information is usually not straightforward, as the input can be pretty abstract. On many occasions, the Heads of the Business Unit will have to estimate the loss, but an exact answer is not crucial.

The purpose is to identify the complete list of critical business functions to keep the organization in business. Overprotecting by identifying more business functions than is needed will cost more, while under-protecting will give the organization a false sense of security.

The BIA develops an assessment of the effects of a business interruption on your organization. It provides your Executive Management with the information required to make sound decisions about what critical business functions must be recovered, how quickly, and how much to spend to recover them. It identifies very specifically the minimum resources that would be required to continue your operations following any disaster declaration.

The BIA also suggests tolerable downtime before it incurs financial or legal penalties for each business function. Managers answer these questions in interviews, with the organisation's CM Coordinator's advice and help.

Equipped and fully understood the content of the BIA report.  The CM Team will have a good grasp of the business functions that will disrupt when a disaster occurs, resulting in a crisis.

This step provides essential information for decisions that must be made in the CM Strategy phase.

 Crisis Management Strategy

During crisis management strategy development, the Organisation CM Coordinator, in consultation with the business units, will develop possible recovery strategies or alternatives to maintain the continuity of critical business functions.

A series of crisis scenario are identified from the "Crisis Scenario Risk Assessment" phase and the team will proceed to develop the strategy to manage the crisis scenario: prior, during and after the crisis has occurred.

 Whatever strategy or options the organisation chooses to manage the respective crisis scenarios, the set of CM strategy must be approval by senior management.

Finally, the integrated enterprise-wide CM strategy report must be presented to the Executive Management for approval.

CM Plan Development

The CM response and procedures document is prepared at this phase. The CM Team will create the necessary plans to make preparations before a crisis occurs. These preparations will enable the CM team  to respond to incidents and recover, resume and restore the business in a crisis.

The documentation of the CM plan can take several forms. Most organizations use PC-based word processors.

Once the decision to use PC-based word processing or CMP-specialized software has been made, the respective recovery teams will complete the BC plan template to write the CM plan. This plan will be printed and used as a guide when a disaster is declared.

These CM response actions are listed, starting with the critical actions to be taken immediately after a disaster declaration. 

Testing & Exercising

Once the procedures are written, testing (or exercising) is vital to every successful CM plan. The primary goals of the testing phase are to:

  • Verify that the recovery time scale and priority can be met
  • Verify that the CM plan is visible and practical
  • Rehearse and train all personnel involved in recovery
  • Eliminate errors and omissions in the plan
  • Update the CM plan in light of the results of the test

Plan testing prepares the recovery teams to function at the alternate site and verifies its adequacy. It will also ensure that appropriate procedures are written to handle all likely situations.

To ensure that the CM plan will work when you need it, the CM plan needs to be tested and updated periodically. The Organization CM Coordinator recommends that the CM team member be involved in some form of test each year. A testing policy and an overall test schedule (for the next few years) will be provided to upgrade disaster plan readiness.

Program Management

 By this stage, the CM plan has been completed and is in place. It is, however, vital that the CM plan will work when the need arises. To ensure this, the CM plan must be updated and maintained. In so doing, the CM project becomes an ongoing program. The Program Management phase includes the following:

  • Identify sources of changes in the environment
  • Establish a change management and maintenance policy
  • Define maintenance procedures
  • Evaluate the adequacy of the maintenance process
  • Provide audit and assurance of the readiness of the plan
  • Embed culture within the organization
  • Audit and review CM plan readiness

CM Project Management Steps

Click to find out more about the detailed requirements for each step

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Goh, M. H. (2016). A Manager’s Guide to Implement Your Crisis Management Plan. Business Continuity Management Specialist Series (1st ed., p. 192). Singapore: GMH Pte Ltd.



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