13.3 Conducting a Critical Function Analysis

Conducting a CFA is relatively straightforward. If anything, the problem with conducting a CFA is getting everyone involved to agree on what constitutes a critical function. This approach can be used for a wide variety of analyses. It can be used for complex system design, as shown above, for use with emergency planning, for use with financial activities (20), and for military operations (21). Different organizations might use various terms for aspects of a CFA. Nelson and Bagian (8) use the following terms:

  • mission;
  • critical functions;
  • tasks;
  • resources;
  • support systems.

It really depends on the depth of the analysis and how your organization defines the layers. For the purposes of this book, the following terms and their definitions are provided:

  • Mission. goal of process, organization, or task.
  • Critical Function. What has to be in place to achieve or maintain the mission.
  • Component. System, job/person, part, tool, or other thing that performs the activities that make up the critical function.
  • Support. Utilities, materials, activities, or other items that support the components.

The following presents several examples of analyses and how the layers of a CFA are linked. These sample analyses are as follows:

  • small business;
  • chemical reactor;
  • emergency planning.

13.3.1 Critical Function of a Small Business

Take any small business and there are several critical functions that must be maintained for the business to operate. A convenience ...

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