Disaster recovery for project managers

The first picture that comes to mind when ‘disaster recovery’ is discussed is natural disasters: bushfires, floods, tornadoes – acts of nature. While having appropriate recovery plans in place should your organisation face any of these disasters is essential, forces of nature aren’t the only things you need to think about as a project manager. Instances of cyber disaster – hacked systems, compromised platforms and missing files or data ­­– can be just as devastating to your business.

The following disaster recovery strategies are ones to consider to help mitigate risk for your business.

Prepare for disaster before it’s a reality

As part of your planning before commencing a project, it is prudent to plan for worst-case scenarios. This can be as simple as ensuring all project files and data is backed up in the cloud, or taking out adequate insurance – including that which covers cyber attacks.

Having considered what steps you may need to take in the event of an emergency before it becomes a reality will save having to make difficult decisions in the heat of the moment.

Manage first response

Whether natural or corporate, the first steps taken after disaster strikes  should aim to minimise any potential further damage. Taking these steps now ­­– such as ensuring team safety, securing digital systems and keeping stakeholders informed of any progress – will decrease the chance of the disaster spiralling out into more catastrophic or expensive problems.

Coordinate relief

Once the situation is stabilised, there comes a time to rise from the ashes. It’s important to then make any insurance claims and consider engaging a PR team, if necessary.

Keeping your team informed and included in the disaster recovery process will also help to foster a sense of productivity and involvement, which is necessary for ongoing morale. While you may feel inclined to take control of all aspects of disaster recovery yourself, remember that the benefits of delegation still apply.

Update your project plans

As soon as practical, take the time to reevaluate how you will now achieve your original (or updated) project goals. Consider how the strategy may need to be altered, and calculate how changes to the budget can be funded. As in the middle stages, keeping your team and stakeholders informed – if not involved – during this process is essential. Remember that your project has not gone to your original plan, but that does not mean it has to be a complete wash.

Project management strategy is a highly valuable skill in times of corporate disaster. Learn more with an online Graduate Diploma of Project Management from RMIT. Speak to one of our expert Student Enrolment Advisors today on 1300 701 171.