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GT Ready FAQ

How do I report a problem with the GT Ready Continuity Planning tool?
Which units should create continuity plans?
Should we appoint a lead continuity planner?
At what level of the organization should we create a plan?
Who should be in the planning group?
How long does it take to create a continuity plan?
How should the planning group operate?
How detailed and complete does our plan need to be?
What assumptions can we make about what the campus will do for us after a disaster?
How can we craft a plan to handle unknown circumstances?
How often should we update these plans?
What should I do once my plan is complete?
What will my department gain from developing a continuity plan?


How do I report a problem with the GT Ready Continuity Planning tool?

Please send an email to with details regarding the problem and how you can be contacted for further information.


Which units should create continuity plans?

GT's policy is that all Institute departments, centers and programs are responsible for creating and maintaining a continuity plan consistent with the guidelines set forth by the Institute. Institute departments or designated affiliates that have not yet developed their own plans shall be required to follow the central direction set by the Institute.


Should we appoint a lead continuity planner?

Yes. It is a temporary, part-time assignment for the duration of the planning project, but the lead planner often continues informally as the department's expert and contact person for continuity issues and exercises. An effective planner is usually a staff member who has access to the unit’s senior management. The role is part project manager, part group facilitator.


At what level of the organization should we create a plan?

This is a crucial decision. Schools, divisions, very large departments and large support units may find it easier to develop plans for their subunits rather than for the whole. Smaller research, instructional or administrative departments would typically use the online planning tool to create a single continuity plan. Email for guidance in making this decision.


Who should be in the planning group?

The planning group is typically a staff group, with membership drawn from upper and middle managers and supervisors: assistant deans, assistant directors, managers, or department coordinators, etc. These are people who have access to management and who understand how the unit operates and what its priorities are. Keep the group size manageable. In very small units, the continuity plan is often done by the head staff member, without a planning group. If your unit is an instructional department or research unit, faculty input is an important part of the planning process. If faculty are not available to be direct participants in the process, try to solicit their input through other means such as interviews or informal conversations on key issues.


How long does it take to create a continuity plan?

Think of this as a one to three-month project - longer time frames do not produce better plans. Most of the time will be "white space" waiting for meetings to happen and people to come to agreements on priorities and action items. The number of actual staff hours required is surprising small, because the GT Ready Continuity Planning tool uses a "fill in the blanks" process. Virtually no time is spent learning how to do a continuity plan -- simply fill in the blanks and your plan is done.


How should the planning group operate?

The group will typically meet and discuss, with little-or-no homework. The coordinator may choose to display the GT Ready Continuity Planning tool at the meetings using a projector. Alternatively, the coordinator can provide the group with the printed plan (which includes all entries-to-date) for discussion. On occasion, the coordinator or someone else may interview a key manager (interview forms are provided in the tool) or do a bit of research. Even the coordinator’s role should not require a heavy time commitment. GT Ready’s approach to continuity planning asks for your thoughtful consideration of issues, not for detailed research or leg-work.


How detailed and complete does our plan need to be?

The GT Ready Continuity Planning tool will prompt you for the appropriate level of detail, and most of those details will be things that your group easily knows or can figure out. Be brief: most questions are best answered with one-to-several sentences or bullets.


What assumptions can we make about what the campus will do for us after a disaster?

Here are some reasonable assumptions:

Temporary workspaces:
The Institute will be responsible for identifying several alternative working spaces on and off campus to be used in the event that one or more buildings are unavailable due to a disaster. Your department may be assigned to one of these workspaces based on the number of critical staff which you need working on campus as opposed to working from home and other considerations. Phone and network access will be provided with the temporary work space.
Information Technology:
Computing and Information Services will restore communication, authentication and directory services as their first priority in the event of a disaster. You do not need to indicate a reliance on Internet access, for example, as part of your plan. If your department, however, has a website which is crucial to your operations, you should indicate such by adding the URL to the list of required, centrally-maintained, applications and adding a comment indicating the maximum amount of time that your department would be able to function without this website.
Communication protocol:
In the event of a campus-wide disaster, general communications with students, faculty, staff and the public will be handled by Institute Communications so that messages are consistent.. As your department resumes functioning, communications of an operational nature will be your responsibility.
Contacting your staff:
This will be a unit level responsibility. Each school or department should keep its own emergency contact list. A template is available for creating this list.
Care of staff:
Many staff issues arise during disaster recovery - pay, temporary leave, temporary alterations of assignment, safety, benefits, layoffs, work-at-home, stress, and family issues. You should assume that Human Resources will be available with guidance and mechanisms to assist departments in these complex areas.


How can we craft a plan to handle unknown circumstances?

The methodology that we employ for continuity planning avoids discussion of particular causal events that could interrupt our mission. All such causal events (hurricane, fire, pandemic, loss of IT services, etc.) will affect our functioning in similar ways, they will temporarily prevent us from using some of the resources to which we have become accustomed.

These resources include:

Our planning focuses on:


How often should we update these plans?

Plans should be updated whenever there is a major change in your unit, e.g. a new application or position is used to support a critical function. In the absence of any major changes, you should review and update your plan annually.


What should I do once my plan is complete?

Once your plan is complete, senior management from your unit should keep a printed copy at their homes and at least one printed copy should be kept in a safe place at the office. It is also a good idea to keep an electronic PDF version of your plan saved on your unit’s server. It is important to mark you plan “complete” or “annually reviewed”.


What will my department gain from developing a continuity plan?

Your department will gain two important things from going through this process.