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As we've seen over the last year, having continuity plans is important because when Things Happen, we all have heightened fear, anxiety, stress, and uncertainty.

Challenges discovered over the last year:

  • Teammate health
  • Teammate is caregiver to ill person or children
  • Work is impacted by life

Planning benefits:

  • Anticipate risk
  • Protect teammates
  • Recover quickly
  • Better communication/trust
  • Turn stress into assurance

When bad things happen, knowing what to do makes things easier.

In practice:

  • Be empathetic (build and foster psychological safety; avoid frustration and discouragement)
  • Control what's controllable

Planning workshop framework

  • Who do you interact with when doing X?
  • Does someone authorize it?
  • Who might be blocked if you can't do X?
  • Where's the documentation for X?
  • What internal/external systems do you work with?
  • What other colleagues know this system
  • Impact on your work?
  • Description of impact
  • Who do you meet with (clients)?
  • How often?
  • Other teammates present?
  • Impact of these meetings?
  • Description of impact?
  • What could slow the team down?
  • What key milestones are at risk?
  • What blind spots did you uncover while working through this list?

This can help you see the possible risks and what you need to plan for. Then do a pre-mortem of about 50 mins:

  • Review all risks team identified
  • Determine mitigation strategies
  • Look ahead at other possible challenges

Finally, share and compare:

  • Make the environment safe; encourage transparency, openness, and support
  • Share plans with other departments
  • Make sure the plan works across departments