Getting Help with Mission Continuity

To supplement the training materials, the online Knowledge Building and Information Security and Privacy modules, and, here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help with your mission continuity plans. If you cannot find an answer to your inquiry, please email and the support team will help you.

How do I get access to Shadow-Planner software?

Access information is provided on the Shadow-Planner page in the Resources and Tools section of this website.

Is training is required to use Shadow-Planner?

Yes, you must be trained before gaining access. Training requirements are described on the Training page in the Getting Started section of this website.

Can I use any browser to access Shadow-Planner?

Shadow-Planner is supported for use in all Penn-supported browsers, as long as Adobe Flash player is installed.

Why can’t I see any personal info about people in my call list? Do I need to enter this myself?

Personal data is refreshed regularly from the Penn Directory database, so there is no need to re-enter this information. However, the quality of the data in Shadow-Planner is only as good as the quality of the data your organization’s staff has entered in the Penn Directory. Please remind everyone in your organization to update their Penn Directory information regularly, so the data in Shadow-Planner will be as current as possible.

I accidentally added an individual to a Call List or an Action Plan. Can I delete them?

I accidentally added an individual to a Call List or an Action Plan. Can I delete them? While individuals cannot be manually deleted from the full Shadow-Planner database, you can remove someone from an incorrect Call List or Role group by using the chevron next to the person’s name within the Contact List. Click on the chevron and then on Delete.

Do I need to make the wording of my Action Plans consistent with other departments?

The key to using Shadow-Planner is establishing consistency, but that does not mean that your Actions Plans need to be exactly the same as those of other departments. As long as you use the Action Plan format built into Shadow-Planner, the system will help ensure that the structure of Mission Continuity plans is consistent across campus.

Can I upload PDFs of my current plan instead of entering the information into Shadow-Planner?

Your plan data needs to be entered into the Shadow-Planner Action Plan format to make use of the features of the system and to be consistently usable across campus. Some departments have chosen to upload PDF copies of certain material in addition to their Action Plans, and that can be helpful; for example, specific graphical information would be a useful additional resource.

Do I need to have Action Plans for all of the elements of the BETH3 model?

The number of Action Plans needed varies from organization to organization. For instance, an organization with multiple facilities may need multiple “Building” Action Plans. If your area of responsibility consists of space in one specific building, there would be no need to construct multiple building plans. Consider each element of the BETH3 model and decide if you need one or more plans for that element.

Do you have any suggestions for converting my current business continuity plans into the
      Shadow-Planner Mission Continuity format?

It may be helpful to:

  • Look at individual pieces of your existing plan.
  • Consider which element in the BETH3 model might apply.
  • Use a spreadsheet to create an Action Plan for that element.
  • Enter that plan into Shadow-Planner as an Action Plan in that category.
  • Remember that the Triggers, Actions, Responsible persons and Procedures in an Action Plan are like the When, What, Who, and How for your plan: When something happens, What do you do, Who needs to do it, and How does it get done?
  • Think of Actions as short, defined “Headlines” for the activity and Procedures as more detailed information about how to perform each Action.

Procedures are re-useable; you can easily use them in other plans after they are created. Also, the number of Action Plans you have in each BETH3 category is entirely dependent on the needs of your area. You can use your existing plans to determine whether you need to enter one, none, or many Action Plans within a given BETH3 category.

NOTE: In Shadow-Planner, Procedures appear under the Documents column.

Do I need to print a report of my entries?

It is recommended that you retain printed copies of your plans off-site, in case they need to be accessed in an emergency.

What is the BIA Module in Shadow-Planner? Should I use it before constructing my plan?

The BIA Module is the Business Impact Analysis Module, an extensively detailed tool for systematically identifying unit processes and priorities. Due to its complexities and potential level of effort, the BIA is not currently used at Penn except in very limited cases. Instead, your first goal should be to construct and enter a foundation plan—a mission continuity plan based on the BETH3 model (see BETH3 in the glossary for more information). It is recommended, however, that you complete the Pre-Planning Questionnaire before constructing your foundation plan in the BETH3 structure. Completing the questionnaire will help you gather the information you need in order to complete a useful mission continuity plan. Then you can put your plan into the correct 4-column format (Trigger, Action, Responsible person, Procedure) using a spreadsheet before entering it into Shadow-Planner.

What is the difference between crisis management planning, disaster recovery, and mission continuity
      planning? Which should I include in my Action Plans in Shadow-Planner?

Crisis management planning deals with immediate responses to a specific crisis, e.g., shelter-in-place or evacuation procedures in the face of terrorist attack. Disaster recovery deals with recovering technology infrastructure, e.g., systems when they go down for any reason or a network that becomes unavailable and disrupts communication. Mission continuity planning deals with how your unit will continue to perform its critical functions after a crisis has occurred, e.g., making arrangements for working off-site if that is necessary. All three kinds of plans can be loaded into Shadow-Planner. However, each should be in a separate Action Plan. A crisis can be a Trigger in a mission continuity plan, e.g., evacuation of a building can be a Trigger within the Buildings portion of the BETH-3 structure (see BETH-3 in the glossary for more information).

What do I do if I can’t find a person I need to add to my plan or contact list using the search and browse functions?

IOnly full- and part-time Penn employees are loaded from the Penn Directory into Shadow-Planner. If you need to add someone else--for example, students, contractors, or third-party partners--you may enter their contact information manually into Shadow-Planner so they can be selected for use in a plan. Please be aware that you are responsible for keeping this contact information up to date if you choose to add individuals to Shadow-Planner, including their removal if they are no longer associated with the University.

How do I find out who my MC Representative is?

Refer to the updated Mission Continuity Representatives pagefor a list of Mission Continuity Representatives.

What is the difference between an Action and a Procedure?

An Action is like a headline; it is a general statement of what should be done, such as, “Inform School staff that building cannot be used” and is often comprised of several Procedures. A Procedure is a specific and reusable item that is a component of an Action, such as “1. Notify Dean’s Office via e-mail listserv that building cannot be used; 2. Notify faculty via e-mail listserv that building cannot be used; 3. Notify students via e-mail listserv that building cannot be used.” NOTE: In Shadow-Planner, Procedures appear under the Documents column.

When should I use Procedure Categories or Action Plan Categories?

It is a good idea to categorize your Action Plans if you will have several plans pertaining to a single department within your School or Center; for example, you might create a Category called “Dean’s Office Plans,” and enter five plans, one for each element of the BETH3 model, in that Category. Likewise, if you will have a large number of Procedures, it is a good idea to categorize them; for example, you might have Procedure categories for “Building Procedures,” “Equipment Procedures,” etc.

When I am accessing Shadow-Planner, do I use my PennKey?

When accessing Shadow-Planner, your username is your PennKey. You set your own password; it is not your PennKey password. If you need to have your password reset, from the Shadow-Planner login page you may click on the link: “Forgotten password? Click here.” If you continue to experience a problem accessing Shadow-Planner, send a request to

How do I make peoples’ cell phone numbers appear in a Call List report?

To ensure that cell phone numbers appear in a Call List report, ask each member of the contact group to go to the Penn Directory and click on Update Directory Listings. Under the Manage Penn Profile tab, click on the edit button next to the phone number. In the appropriate box, enter the cell phone number and click on Submit. Each month, when Shadow-Planner is updated with contact data from the directory, any new cell phone numbers will be loaded into Shadow-Planner.

Can I link on plan to another within Shadow-Planner?

Yes, you can, and here are the steps for doing so.

How do I open up a URL directly from a document in Shadow-Planner?

Here are the steps for creating different types of documents and for opening a URL directly from Shadow-Planner.

How can I best plan for a pandemic?

Use these guidelines to update current plans or to create a new plan for dealing with an pandemic. Also, feel free to use the Pandemic Response Plan in the Shadow-Planner Libraries as a template for your own pandemic plan.

In Shadow-Planner, how do I copy a template plan from Libraries into plans?

Follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Libraries tab.
  2. Click on Penn Library.
  3. Click on Action Plans.
  4. In the left-hand menu, put your mouse pointer over the item/category containing the plan you want to copy.
  5. Drag and drop that item/category across the screen and into Search & Browse in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. The name(s) of the Action Plans will appear in Search & Browse.
  6. Drag and drop the plan you want from Search & Browse into your own Action Plans.
  7. A pop-up box will appear asking if you want to move or copy the plan. Please select copy; you do not want to move it, to ensure it will remain available to other people who access the Libraries.
  8. Once a copy of the plan is in your Action Plans, you can update it as you would any other plan.

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