Crisis Management Series
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[CM] Step 7: Develop an Action Plan and Schedule

It is challenging to schedule and estimate the time needed for a CM planning (CMP) project. The issue is that there are never enough people and time. How do you know you have identified all the work? This section will guide you in finding out the most critical tasks.


Also, there are obstacles to watch for when establishing the CMP project schedules and estimating individual task durations.

Moh Heng Goh
Crisis Management Certified Planner-Specialist-Expert

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IC_More_Step 7

Establish Timescale

This is the suggested schedule (elapsed time) for each typical CMP phase.


Phase BCM Phase Length of Week
1 Project Management 6
2 Crisis Risk Scenario Assessment 2
3 Business Impact Analysis (Gather information from the BCM Team) 4
4 Crisis Management Strategy 4
5 Plan Development 4
6 Testing & Exercising 2
  Total (Elapsed Time) 22 weeks or six months
7 Program Management After the 6th month

Project Schedule & Elapse Time

Each phase is overlapped and broken down into detailed steps. Template 6: CM planning Action Steps and Tasks, which describes the tasks and activities for a typical CMP project schedule

Get Agreement on Dates

IC_More_CM Project_Develop an Action Plan and ScheduleWhen assigning tasks to CM planning team members, it is unwise to simply state, “I need this task completed by a specific date.”

Without any input to the scheduling process, the CMP project team member may not accept accountability for meeting the deadline.

Instead, ask, “How soon can you complete this task?” Negotiate if necessary, but be sure to get an agreement and hold the CMP team member accountable for meeting the agreed-upon date.

Set Realistic Timeframe

 The key to project success is finishing the CMP project on time. All too often, an Organisation's CM coordinator adopts a too short period for the CM planning project.

This can be because it is set by management or someone else unaware of the proper size of the CM planning project or because the Organisation CM Coordinator feels that the Executive Management will not pass a CMP project that is too large or long.

Sometimes, this is the organisational culture, in which case, there is nothing you can do about it. Otherwise, you must take extra care not to underestimate. Remember that people do get sick, resign, and go on leave when you least expect them to.

The size of the CMP project cannot be determined until all the critical business functions and IT applications have been identified. By this time, you are well into the CMP project. It is better to overestimate at the early stages; chances are that, as you progress, you will still be underestimated.

Beware of Unrealistic Target Dates

Often, I have found inexperienced Organization CM Coordinators setting unrealistic deadlines, and there was no way the schedules could have been met. The Executive Management is usually unaware that the CMP project is not just about going straight into writing a set of recovery procedures.

It is essential to know about other organisational activities, personal time commitments, and projects contending for the same resources. We will need to allocate additional time to use the resources well in your CMP project. This organizational project may include year-end retreats, annual budgeting, staff appraisal, school holidays, and long national holidays.


It is critical to scope a CMP project complete within an elapsed time of fewer than 12 months. I have observed that a project schedule that exceeds 12 months usually fails to complete. This is due to project fatigue, loss of interest by the Executive Management as they focus on other higher-priority projects, and loss of project members due to internal transfers and turnovers.

Minimise Unapproved Deviations

Once the CMP project has started, there may be pressure to modify the scope or objectives. This should be resisted if possible. If it is impossible, ensure that the Executive Management explicitly approves the deviations and that any implications these may have on the CMP project schedule or change in sourcing requirements are understood and accepted.

Time Commitment by Members of the CM Team

One approach that will help ease the pain is a clear proclamation by the Organisation CM Coordinator with the CMP project team that while recovery plans live forever, their initial development should take only a short time if everyone puts in their effort.

There is an end in sight. With the appropriate support obtained from Executive Management buy-in, the Organisation CM Coordinator should promise that the CMP project will be completed within six to nine months when initial walkthrough testing can occur.


I often estimate 8 to 10 man-days of time commitment from each CM Team Member.  It is tough to be precise about the percentage of time commitment. In small business units, for instance, the time may very well be 10% or less.


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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