The Agile Approach to Implementing Business Continuity

The Agile approach is currently in vogue in a number of business areas, one of the better-known examples being software development. The same principles that can help keep software applications aligned with business needs and available on a timely basis can also be applied to business continuity. The name “Agile” refers to the notion that the plan being followed can be modified relatively often if certain key principles are observed. It’s a concept that can offer a couple of advantages in getting business continuity both implemented and appreciated…

The Agile approach relies in the first place on staying close to what a business requires to help it achieve its strategic objectives, and also to what users need to be able to do their jobs well. In business continuity terms, this translates into how plans and processes should be defined for the maximum positive effect. It means involving both management and employees to get their input and opinion on how business continuity is or should be helping them. Because the business environment in general can change and therefore affect how an organisation does business, it’s important for business continuity planning to be aware of any developments and to adjust the BC plan appropriately as they happen.

Secondly, the Agile approach is based on more frequent releases of smaller increments of functionality or capability. This is instead of a “big bang” approach where nothing is available until a final release date when everything gets released at once. The incremental Agile approach allows people to start working with business continuity plans and preparations earlier. It can make for a smoother, more manageable introduction of BC into an organisation as a whole. It also means a better chance of continually keeping BC aligned to the needs of the business and the people who work in it, in contrast to the risk of the big bang approach of diverging from those needs during the longer time needed till final release.