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Phases in a Project Disaster Recovery Plan

written by: Sidharth Thakur • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 12/28/2010

Are you responsible for developing a disaster recovery plan for your project but don’t know how to go about it? Then here’s an article that describes the five phases involved in developing a disaster recovery plan.

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    When it comes to disaster recovery most people shirk taking on the responsibility because they do not know where to get started, what to do, and what are the phases in a disaster recovery plan. Here’s a five phase disaster recovery plan that will facilitate project management professionals in gearing up and staging the entire disaster recovery program.

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    A Five Phase Disaster Recovery Plan

    Phases in a Disaster Recovery Plan Phase 1: Disaster Assessment and Risk Analysis

    The first phase of a disaster recovery plan involves assessing the amount of damage caused and the further extent of damage that will occur if a recovery plan is not used for mediation. The disaster recovery plan must clearly identify the team members who will be responsible for identifying, notifying and accounting the damage. The assessment usually includes:

    • Tracing the origin of the problem
    • The likelihood and extent of further damage
    • Prime areas that have been affected
    • Damage done to the equipment, inventory, resources or finished products
    • Things that must be replaced
    • The current state of the problem
    • Gathering critical information
    • The estimated time available for dealing with the disaster without hampering the overall progress

    Carrying out a detailed risk analysis is another important activity that must be completed during this first phase. If you need help with identifying and prioritizing the threats and estimating the amount of damage these threats can cause here are links to some tools that may come handy – Risk Assessment Forms, Risk Assessment Matrix and a Risk Register.

    Phase 2: Activation and Planning

    This second phase in a disaster recovery plan involves pulling together a team who will actively participate in planning and executing a disaster recovery solution. The role of each and every team member must be clearly defined. Once the team members are together, they have to begin devising a disaster recovery plan to tackle the situation and restore normalcy. Some of important aspects of this planning are:

    • Listing what all will be restored and also assigning priorities to the items to be restored
    • Detailing out the procedures to be followed
    • Allocating roles to team members
    • Setting up a communication, reporting and review system
    • Setting up time lines and schedules for activities to be performed
    • Allocating resources and equipments
    • Setting up operating and quality standards
    • Identifying and importing the required data sources
    • Setting up review procedures and review points
    • Documenting the recovery plan

    Phase 3: Execution of the Disaster Recovery Plan

    In the execution phase, the recovery team finally gets into action and begins executing the recovery activities as per the procedures specified in the plan. At the end of each phase of the recovery, or after execution of the important recovery activities, a review or appraisal must follow to monitor the progress and ensure compliance with the established quality standards.

    Phase 4: Integrating the Disaster Recovery Plan with the Project Plan

    Disaster recovery is not something that is carried out completely in isolation. Thus, in this phase, efforts are made to integrate the disaster plan with the overall project plan. This phase also involves testing and verifying the disaster recovery plan for its feasibility. This integration will ensure optimum usage of resources and concentrated efforts toward the overall objective of the project.

    Phase 5: Reconstitution and Restoration

    This final phase of the five phases in a disaster recovery plan follows after the disaster has been completely managed and it is time to get back to restoring normalcy. Once the execution and testing of the recovery plan is over, this reconstitution phase begins and may last even for a few weeks. The resources and team members that were diverted toward the disaster recovery must be moved back to their original places. Here are some of the activities that form a part of the restoration and reconstitution phase:

    • Ensure that there are no remaining aftereffects of the disaster and that no threats have remained unaddressed
    • All team members have returned to their original roles
    • All resources deployed for the recovery have been secured and relocated to where they are needed
    • The disaster recovery efforts are completely over.

    Image by : Sidharth Thakur

Disaster Recovery Planning for Projects

This series of articles focuses on disaster recovery planning for projects.
  1. Phases in a Project Disaster Recovery Plan
  2. Techniques for Testing Project Disaster Recovery Plans

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