13.5.08

Best Practice - DR Planning

I don't want to cheapen or minimize the human suffering from the recent typhoon in Myanmar, or yesterday's earthquake in China, but these events underscore a necessary component of global software and service delivery teams -- Disaster Readiness.

I'll be short and to the point in this post. If you work with a global team, you need to prepare a plan to address continuity of service or of productivity in the event of a disaster in any of your locations. In my own experience, I've been involved in or directly observed implementation of portions of the DR plan because of:
  • Ice storms in Pennsylvania.
  • Tamil rebel bombings in Sri Lanka.
  • Large scale demonstrations in India.
  • Flooding in Mumbai India.
  • The 2004 tsunami in Asia.
  • Virus infection in a lab in Massachusetts.
  • Power outage in a lab in Massachusetts.
  • Flooding in New Orleans.
  • Fires in Southern California.
These are large and small scale disasters. In some, many thousands of people died. In others, a few people were inconvenienced. In each case, business went on, and we did have to start execution of the DR plan.

I can't imagine that service delivery managers in Chengdu are worried about call queue wait times right now. With 12,000 or more dead, and with most infrastructure seriously damaged, it will be a long time before things are back to business-as-usual. But in the face of this tragedy, business will go on. This gets to the actionable best practice:
  • Have a DR plan.
  • Review it with your staff and your managers at least quarterly.
  • Have a plan for "stand-by" sites.
  • Have a plan to account for and assist your staff in the event of an emergency or disaster.
  • Hope you never have to use the plan.

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