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How to KISS!

No, this is not the beginning of a romance novel or a self-help relationship guide.

I am talking about another “KISS” businesses and their decision makers seem to forget.

The “KISS” I’m speaking of is “keep it simple, stupid,” an acronym for a design principal noted by the U.S. Navy in the 1960s.

“The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.” Wikipedia contributors, “KISS principle,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed February 2, 2021).

This even sounds simple!

So, why do businesses and individuals fall into the trap of what I like to call “over-engineering a solution”?

Over-engineering can lead down a path of frustration, spent resources, and inefficient or ineffective systems and processes. Worse yet, it can lead to paralysis in making progress on a solution at all.

We live and work in a complex world of consistently evolving technologies, so it is easy to understand why projects become so complicated and over-engineered.

Since our world is so complex, maybe “keep it simple, stupid” is over-simplifying and KISS can evolve to “keep it somewhat, simple.”

Let’s apply our new definition of KISS to a real-world business problem.

One of the most complex topics for organizations, especially Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) is Business Continuity Planning (BCP). Many SMBs do not have a formal or documented BCP in place. Often this is the case because the business leaders simply do not know where to start. They might begin to think about BCP, but quickly become paralyzed when they attempt to address every possible scenario. Then, they do not make any movement in any direction.

As I have discussed in a previous blog “The Shift in the Modern-Day Workforce,” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations were living their BCP in real-time, regardless of if they had a formal documented plan in place. In many ways, the inherent nature of the technologies we were starting to use, allowed for some Business Continuity that might not have existed before.

It is easy to get caught up in the complexities of developing a formal documented BCP. They can include things such as Risk Identification & Mitigation Plans, Policies & Procedures, Business Impact Analysis (BIAs), Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs), Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs), Gap Analysis, Recovery Strategies, and more. These are all important things to provide valuable data and insights. However, all these terms and acronyms probably just give business leaders anxiety, thus causing paralysis from moving forward.

So, let’s “KISS.”

For an organization that has never gone through the BDP development process, the best method is to start slowly and add detail along the way. I use the methodology to identify “what is the next one thing or step” in the process. That way you develop the process in small chunks, each with a specific purpose allowing you to make incremental progress.

Phase 1: Identify who should be on the Business Continuity Planning Team

Keep the initial planning team small. A desire to want everyone’s input and a consensus is natural. But too many people on the team will slow the progress. Define who is the leader, the recorder, the timekeeper and the participant(s).

Understand who the contributors are and who just needs to be informed.

Define the GOAL and the SCOPE.

Phase 2: Create a list of core business functions that are needed to keep the business running.

Stay away from getting into the system level detail at this stage.

Focus on identifying the core business functions and high-level dependencies between core functions.

Identify how long those core functions could be unavailable or down without impacting the business.

Phase 3: Pick one or two identified core business functions.

Do not try to tackle everything at once.

Start to identify systems, applications and resources tied to those core business functions.

Identify current gaps between what is wanted and what is currently available.

Phase 4: Execution

Investigate, identify, and implement associated processes and procedures and the appropriate technology solutions.

Don’t get trapped into over-engineering a solution.

Document as you go.

Test, test, test.

Adjust as needed.

Phase 5: Keep It Rolling

Once you have some success, move on to the next core business functions.

Remember a Business Continuity Plan is not a set it and forget it program. It is a continual journey that will require revisiting as core business functions and technologies change over time.

Obviously, there is a lot more behind all the details of a Business Continuity Plan, but the point of “KISS” is to approach it in a way that allows you to simplify the process. It does not have to be a giant endeavor that causes undue anxiety or stress for a business. Each business will need to determine what is “good enough” as they develop their strategy and the contingent solutions.

Leveraging a great business and technology partner can help facilitate the planning and execution of a good Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

Questions or comments? Do not hesitate to reach out to our team at 614-212-1101 or [email protected].