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Project Disaster Recovery Plan

Project Disaster Recovery Plan

It’s not often that you’ll put together a Disaster Recovery Plan that is project-specific. The exceptions are government projects – which sometimes require separate one-time documents for the project for which you charge dearly to put them together – and larger, very visible and mission-critical projects that may involve highly sensitive data.

However, if you find yourself up against a wall and facing a deadline to put a DRP together, maybe this template will be just what you need.  And, if you have your own version that you’d like to see posted and share with the readers here on PMtips, send it along to us.

The Importance of the Project Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster recovery plan (DRP) in an essential part of business continuity planning. The planning activities in this plan are ongoing processes, and multi-disciplined that require a high degree of integration across the organization. Moreover, the DRP must be tested and updated to match current business realities.

Some projects such as IT, systems and data can be very critical to companies and countries, and the demand for rapid recovery is high when compared to other projects. For instance, if one company has a major loss of data, it may not fully recover. Because of this, Disaster Recovery Plan described in details is a must. DRP will help to backup data system on a regular basis. If you have a clear DRP, you will avoid data loss, while testing protocols will assure that everything is going well. If a disaster occurs, then the plan takes the action on how to recover and rebuild on what has been lost.

Having a clear Disaster Recovery Plan on hand is always better safe, than sorry.

The Content

The outline of the project disaster recovery plan varies depending from the project needs. But the standard content of the plan can be divided into three parts where each part has several subsections.

The basic outline includes:

I. Preliminary Planning

This part of the plan describes the purpose, scope, assumptions, responsibilities, and overall strategy relative to the plan. A DRP is based on several categories of assumptions. Most can be established only after the completion of a risk assessment that includes information such as nature of the problem, priorities, and commitments.

II. Preparatory Actions

This part of the plan is key. Preparatory actions are critical to the emergency response, backup, and recovery from all but the most routine problems. This section provides the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all people, internal and external (vendors and/or contractors) who may be required in any backup or recovery scenario. Also, alternates should be designated in this part.

III. Action Plan

This part of the plan consists of the actions to be accomplished by the personnel or activities identified in the DRP. Every action should only consist of concise, short instructions of the specific actions to take in response to each of the categories. Include the immediate actions to be taken to protect life and property, and to minimize the impact of the emergency. Describe in details what must be done to initiate and effect backup operations. Recovery Actions should be limited to describing what to do in effecting recovery from disasters, including any alternate manual scenarios until the systems have been restored at the backup site.

This is just a simple example of the main elements that one project disaster recovery plan should include. Always, create your own DRP in accordance to the project needs.

Things to Consider

The selection of appropriate strategies in the Preliminary Planning should follow the risk assessment. Until the risk assessment is completed, it is difficult to know the critical systems that must be maintained, and the demand for resources that will be made to support those critical systems. The strategies selected must provide a sufficient base upon which procedures can be devised which afford all personnel the immediate capability to effectively respond to emergency situations where life and property have been, or may be, threatened or harmed.

Keep in mind that most backup sites will not have sufficient equipment, personnel, supplies, etc., to sustain the complete operational requirements or another facility. In this case, a more detailed backup strategy must be developed. Also, the strategy for recovery must be linked closely with that of backup operations, as initiation of recovery actions may overlap.

Moreover, it is essential that all data on which backup and recovery are dependent be adequately recorded, stored offsite at a secure, environmentally safe facility, maintained in as current condition as is feasible, and occasionally tested to ensure validity.

Regarding the software, it is also essential that a current copy of the systems and application software programs be stored offsite at a secure, environmentally safe facility that will make that software available immediately. Also, a DRP should minimize, to the greatest feasible extent, the dependence on rapid replacement of hardware. Finally, you need to describe the location of the backup facility. When choosing a backup site, consideration should be given to accessibility, and the site should be free of whatever external problems are hampering the supported facility.

Final Thoughts

It may seem complicated to draft a project disaster recovery plan, but download our free template to see that it’s easy. The template will give you an idea in drafting your own plan. It is always better to have a disaster recovery plan on hand.


Do you still have any questions? Post them in the comments section below. We are eager to answer all legitimate inquiries as soon as possible.

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PMtips' is a real-life guide for people who are interested in developing a career or are already working in the field of project management. It covers a wide range of project management topics in a very simple, yet effective language.

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PMtips' is a real-life guide for people who are interested in developing a career or are already working in the field of project management. It covers a wide range of project management topics in a very simple, yet effective language.


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