Desktop exercises are one of the most widely-used and cost-effective tools in Business Continuity and Crisis Management training. As the name suggests, a desktop exercise (or tabletop exercise) takes place with delegates sitting around a table, managing a fictional scenario which is typically delivered as a series of powerpoint slides. There is no role-playing or dramatic simulations.
Despite the simplicity of the format, desktop exercises are extremely effective in:
- Improving people’s awareness of their organisation’s Business Continuity plans;
- Practising members of Incident Management Teams in their roles; and
- Identifying gaps, errors and opportuinites for improvement in Business Continuity plans.
Desktop exercises are therefore an invaluable aid to plan development as well as a key tool in the initial training of Incident Management teams. Many organisations also use them on an ongoing basis (eg annually) to review their plan and maintian people’s awareness.
Follow the link to see a case study on the design and delivery of a desktop exercise.