“What if?” is one of the simplest—and most powerful—phrases. It also an incredible useful question to enhance strategic planning, business continuity and recovery planning, product and technology strategy, reliability engineering, and much more:
- What if the application fails mid-transaction? What if the server fails? The database? The entire data center?
- What if a snowstorm does not let our employees get to work? What if this continues for several days? What if this happens as we are closing out the quarter or completing a bid for a large sale?
- What if one of our competitors under cuts us on price for X? What if someone open sources a free version of one of our competitive advantages? What if we do this instead?
- What if we buy company Y? What if we buy Z instead? What if we do not—but a competitor does?
- What if a new technology comes out that is better/faster/less expensive than X?
- What if our major product has a safety issue? How do we respond? How to we make up lost revenue?
- What if the new visa policies in the US (or EU) get changed? Where do we hire? What will the cost impact be
Based on our long experience in mission critical roles and operations, our team asks these questions all the time whenever they are setting up an operation, designing a system, pricing a product, etc. For over 15 years we have also been helping companies answer these questions in a variety of formats:
- Strategic planning workshops with executive teams
- Tabletop simulations with operations managers across multiple locales and time zones
- Dry runs of operational plans (installations, recovery operations, etc.)
- Live exercises (e.g., military operations, manually-forced system failures)
- Red Teaming (champion-challenger testing)
- White Hat testing of security and system integrity
We have found that “What if? Simulations not only allow companies to test existing plans; they also stimulate creative thinking and build essential practice (for emergency response, disaster recovery and more). We would be happy to set up and facilitate these exercises for you, acting as Red Team and White Challenges and helping you create this discipline internally.