Monday, September 22, 2008

Hurricane Ike, Risks, and the CMMI

In a previous blog entry,, I have used hurricanes to illustrate the differences between Process Performance Baselines and Process Performance Models. But there is a more practical problem with hurricanes that impact organizations, Lead Appraisers, and appraisals at any Maturity Level. This problem manifests itself in the areas of Risk Identification, Tracking, and Mitigation. After the devastation of hurricanes over the past several years, most notably Katrina and now Ike, I recommend to all of my clients along the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast that they include hurricanes or severe weather as a credible risk for the process improvement efforts and appraisal planning, especially during hurricane season June 1 to November 30. Recognizing that hurricanes can cause severe damage and at at minimum, a disruption to work, risk mitigation plans need to be identified. Not only are businesses closed for days, electric power and other essential services are out, homes can be damaged, and people evacuate. Today it is 10 days since Ike came ashore and chewed a swathe through Galveston and Houston. Only about 60% of the power has been restored. Many people have lost everything and most of us are preoccupied with clean up and insurance claims. So even though businesses are back open today, many employees will not be able to return to work. And those that do return to work won't be productive for some time. They will be relating their Hurricane Ike stories.

So, when identifying a hurricane, severer weather, or other act of God or war as a risk, the mitigation plans need to address the worst case scenario and the potential loss of weeks of work, if not data. And from the Lead Appraiser's perspective, a disaster can wreak havoc with the calendar since appraisals tend to stack up at the end of the calendar year. If a disaster strikes in September, it may be a problem to reschedule an appraisal in the same calendar year.

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