Training – Scenario Based Exercises
These exercises are carefully designed to challenge only the elements of your Incident Management Plan that you want tested.
Once you have decided which aspects of your Incident Response you would like to test, a fictional scenario is prepared. The scenario should be relevant to your organisation and it should also be sufficiently realistic that the people who are exercising don’t lose interest by thinking, “this would never happen here”.
The potential scope of these exercises is enormous. Perhaps you just want to provide an opportunity for your Helpline Team to receive some calls so they can practice managing them appropriately. Or perhaps you want yo test your Incident Management Team’s ability to convene and draw up an Action Plan in response to an unexpected event.
Or, at the other end of the scale, perhaps you want your CEO to be ambushed by a TV Crew before entering your office in the morning; and you want to see how your External Communications Team deals with a series of difficult social media ‘injects’ over the course of the day. If you have multiple offices, perhaps in different countries and different time zones you may want to test their ability to work together.
Scenario Based Exercises can be challenging for any organisation. At the end of the exercises, when the feedback and debriefings are over, you will usually have a long list of ‘to-do’ actions. Even when the details of the fictional scenario to be used in an exercise are sympathetically written, the list of actions is rarely short.
If you and your colleagues were not well trained and your Incident Management Plan wasn’t carefully written, you may find one of these exercises very testing. The danger is that an experience of this kind can be demoralising and undermine your confidence. This is not a desirable outcome.
Therefore we recommend that Scenario Based Exercises are best used after other training has taken place when competence levels should be relatively high.
Who is this course helpful for?
Scenario Based Exercises can be designed to test any and all parts of your Incident Management Team from your Go-Team’s ability to depart to a remote location, to your Spokesperson’s ability to start fielding questions from the press or broadcast media.
However, these exercises are most helpful for the managers who are responsible for the implementation and management of your Incident Management Plan.
How will participants benefit from taking part in the Workshop?
Ideally all the colleagues who take part in the exercise, especially the members of your Incident Management Team should gain experience and confidence in incident management, meaning that your organisation is better placed to cope if an incident occurs.
Some team members may become more familiar with equipment they might have to use, such as telecoms and I.T. kit they don’t normally use.
Your IT Team will have the opportunity to test the resources that you might rely upon during a real incident.
And, although these exercises are always only exercises, not the real thing, everybody will get some valuable insight into the extra psychological pressure that incident management will place upon them.
Length of exercise
A Scenario Based Exercise can be designed to last as long as is needed for the intended purpose. Some are as short as two hours; other can last a full day or a deliberately early or late day so that the exercise overlaps with offices in other time zones.
As well as the time taken by the actual exercise some time will be ideally be made available at the end for some relaxation and a ‘hot debrief’.
After the exercise the manager with responsibility for Incident Management preparation is likely to have more to do.
How many people should attend?
An essential part of the planning and preparation of an exercise is the decision about who would benefit from being tested.
This can be a difficult decision, often because there are concerns about disrupting the normal flow of business. However, an exercise involving very few people may be an exercise in name alone, generating insufficient outcomes to be worth the trouble.
In some cases significant pre-Workshop preparation may be needed from your Incident Management Planner. Alternatively you may prefer to provide a brief and leave it up to your supplier to develop the exercise without anyone in your organisation knowing all the details.
A report summarising our observations and any recommendations will be provided.
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