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Update on Me: Recent Reading, Freelance Work, Job-Hunting, Jews and Comic Books, Money etc. - Mo's Journal
March 16th, 2010
02:47 pm

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Update on Me: Recent Reading, Freelance Work, Job-Hunting, Jews and Comic Books, Money etc.

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From:aurienne
Date:March 16th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
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re "writing a Business Continuity Plan " -- what's that? Is it something that would be useful to teach my Technical Writing students? (They're juniors mostly, about 50% computer engineers, 2/3 of the rest of other forms of engineer or scientists, 3 writing majors, and the rest are business majors.)

I'm encouraging them, if so inclined, to do a Business Plan (for a new business or expanding their freelancing) if they want to for their Independent Research Project, but if these Continuity things come up in the course of their other jobs, should they be familiar with them? Should they get a small focus on them the way we focus on email etiquette, clear instructions, definitions, proposals, or is it just something that specific companies/non-profits may or may not run into, and don't worry about it?

I added the World's Fair book to my wishlist!

Oh, and see if any of your previous schools have lifetime career help -- I had a great career redirect from one school when I went in for a day of counseling and quizzes. I would offer to look at your resume, but my focus is mostly on Frosh getting summer jobs and internships, or now I'm learning how to help juniors describe those internships into things which may lead to full-time jobs. It used to be my unofficial job to be First Rejector at my dad's office though when I was a teen -- discarding those with immediate errors or pointing out implications of gaps or phrasings. (Example - some of my students don't realize that listing "Mama's Boys" without explanation would NOT register to anyone off campus as "very selective all-male a capella group")

Edited at 2010-03-16 07:34 pm (UTC)
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From:mofic
Date:March 16th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
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A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a very important document, but it does require some specialized skills to write it. It's what used to be called a "Disaster Recovery Plan" - but that was soooo negative. It's a plan for how a business will continue in the event of an incident that disrupts normal operations. It could be something major like 9/11 or something as small as a storm. The most common reason for businesses to activate their BCPs is an extended power outage. Writing the BCP is the end of the project. First you have to determine which functions are essential and which can just not be done for a while, how you'll recover the ones that are essential, how to notify staff, where your data and software will be backed up, where you'll recover if you have to use an alternate location, and so on. The BCP documents the results of all that.

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From:aurienne
Date:March 16th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
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Excellent -- I think I may make (find) some scenarios and play with that, with my biggest focus being "who needs to know what?" (My whole class is all about audience and anticipating/meeting their needs more than the memos the students thought it would be. )

That could also give me an EXCELLENT focus for my summer version (6 weeks) of this class, too. I will definitely play with this concept more. Thanks!
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From:mofic
Date:March 16th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
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It's a great exercise for "who needs to know what?" BCP development and writing can get so bogged down in the technical details (because most often people writing them are computer geeks) that the document isn't appropriate at all for the people who have to actually implement it. By definition, in a recovery situation you don't have all your people, all your materials, all your facilities so you need something that clearly tells you what to do, not a lot of engineering schematics of the recovery servers.

Another really important (and oft-neglected) task is testing the plan. It's only in the testing process that you find out the flaws in your plan and can fix them. Also, testing teaches staff the plan. Ideally, one should test annually and have different folks involved in the test each time.
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