ISO 22301 proposes that organisations adopt the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Model, a form of closed-loop control system. This is recognised by Deming as the fundamental core of most management systems, which themselves have the effect of ‘breathing life’ into otherwise one-shot business initiatives. Compare the benefit of writing a one-off continuity plan that quickly becomes obsolete and useless, with one that is kept up-to-date and continually improved.
Closed-loop control systems are pervasive, in everything from refrigerators to guided missiles. At their simplest, they take a reference value e.g. the fridge’s temperature setting and compare it with the actual temperature inside; the pump is started when it gets too warm, and switches off once it returns to the set value. Without measurement, fridges, missiles and myriad other systems we take for granted would fail to function as they should. It is fundamental to control and every BCMS relies on it.
Unsurprising then, that two of the ten sections of the ISO BC Standard are devoted to measurement. It splits section 9 on Performance Evaluation into sub-areas dealing with operational monitoring, governance, and control. Section 10 Improvement then covers aspects of reactive and proactive change - why Improvement? How can you meaningfully improve if you don’t somehow measure start- and end-points and account for all factors affecting the change?
Recognising that organisations are different, the Standard offers appropriate interpretive freedom in how and to what extent we implement our closed-loop system. But take a moment to absorb the significance; these two sections cover some four definitive pages in a document spanning just 16 in total. They are not intended to be optional and for good reason; simply, weak measurement dilutes management effectiveness, undermines organisational objectives and impairs governance.