Table-top exercises are an invaluable way to familiarize your team members with the disaster recovery timeline and to delineate their responsibilities at time of disaster from those of the operational business units. Tabletops also orient your teams to the structure and flow of the plan documents, team responsibilities at time of disaster, the details of the immediate reaction stage including activation of the plan, use of the Disaster Barometer™ and their ongoing responsibilities for plan maintenance.
A table-top exercise is also the best way to explore the nuances of different events and to prepare your teams to understand how varying impact scenarios change their recovery duties and capabilities. An endless number of different scenarios can be explored quickly, easily and cost-effectively. In a matter of hours, your team’s practical experience can be increased dramatically and the breadth of their experience can be extended over a large number of possible disaster variants.
Four specific sub-exercises are needed to encompass the full range of responses to any given event. WTG prepares and facilitates all aspects of the exercise including: scenario definition, documentation, monitoring and recap. Each exercise is scheduled in advance but not explained to the participants. Each exercise is completely orchestrated to specific timelines, a detailed narrator background, pre-defined scenario pivot points, appropriate props and supporting “actors”. The general notification test (approximately 1 hour to execute) will exercise the ability to effectively use the call procedures to contact and mobilize the recovery teams in a timely manner. The executive response test (approximately 1 hour to execute) will simulate the executive incident response team’s ability to quickly evaluate an obscure impending disaster event and to place the appropriate areas of the company on standby or plan activation. The team leader/alternate test will simulate full execution of a complete stage 1 response (approximately 3 hours to execute) to a simulated disaster event. The final team member test will require approximately four hours of real-time execution to simulate a full recovery effort.