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  • Writer's pictureErika Andresen

Exercises For Your Business and Mind

Is having a business continuity plan enough? No. You need to exercise it. Set your mind at ease with both having a business continuity plan (BCP) AND having exercised it.


Last month I conducted a version of a tabletop exercise (TTX) for a group of business owners. I wanted them to see the value of both how to think on your feet and how to not have to if you think about it in advance (preferably with a BCP in hand). Before I get ahead of myself, let me explain what kind of exercises you can do for a BCP.


We are all familiar with drills. We know them from school when the alarm would go off in the middle of class and you form a line, leave everything behind, and walk quietly to an outside location no matter what time of year. A drill is one task to clarify roles.


Next up is a TTX. It is meant for key personnel only to literally sit at a table and informally go through a plan and discuss what they would do and assess the plan. They are easy, informal and cheap to do since it is just talking through the steps. We then move into functional exercises (FX) and full-scale exercises, both which are more active playing out the solution to a pretend shut down but one is much more expensive and realistic.


The NY public school system (whose remote learning snow day failure I previously wrote about) planned on doing an exercise this month. The plan is more like a case of show and tell. They can show they did something and tell people “hey, it worked, it’ll work for real when we need it!” The test was on a professional admin day for the teachers, students were off and asked to voluntarily log on and assist with the test. Yeah…that has "succeess" written all over it. That’ll make sure it works. That’s going to replicate a real traffic day like the one that failed in February. Because they aren’t going whole hog with this functional exercise, it will amount to a TTX.


“Oh this is a good idea, we should do this!” Not if they are half baked. Not if they don’t achieve the desired outcome.


Speaking of good ideas…what I did for the in-person audience last month was give them a pretend business with all the details of what they did and where they were located and said they were in charge. Then I threw a pretend (but realistic) scenario for them to talk through. This is where the mind was exercised. So....

I’m planning on hosting a monthly (give or take) TTX live lunch and learn series where I replicate online what I did in person: doing a TTX! I’ve figured out the logistics, it will be interactive, I will change the scenarios every month so you can attend more than one. The first one will be June 20th.  


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