As discussed in a previous article, tests and exercises are an essential procedure for validating an organization’s business continuity capabilities. In addition, they help verify the overall effectiveness of the resiliency plans in place and assess the organization’s level of preparedness for an emergency.
In general, it is beneficial to conduct tests and exercises according to the frequencies defined in the schedule, depending on the needs, the types of tests and exercises and their scope. In this article, we present a complementary approach: speed testing exercises.
Since the objective of this article is to make you aware of this, we will limit ourselves to a few brief explanations and examples.
What is speed testing?
This is a simple and quick, but very effective, simulation that allows, among other things, to validate certain elements of resilience plans (business continuity plan, emergency preparedness plan, crisis management plan, disaster recovery plan (IT), etc.), tasks and procedures to be accomplished, the sequencing of certain actions as well as the roles and responsibilities of each person involved. Although they require a minimum of preparation, these “express” exercises require little time and effort from the participants. The duration of such an exercise should be short (e.g., 30 minutes).
Versatile, inclusive and dynamic, the advantages of speed testing are numerous: it encourages teams to learn by putting their knowledge into practice, to develop problem-solving techniques and to reflect on areas for improvement. It is therefore a complement to tabletop exercises.
Implementation of speed testing in your company
That’s easy! First of all, it is important to determine which component you and your team want to test as part of your resiliency plan.
At regular intervals (e.g. once a month), make sure to gather the people involved in a room with, ideally, a large whiteboard where it is possible to note everyone’s interventions. Also, if possible, ask people to participate while standing. This makes the exercise a little less formal and creates a completely different dynamic that will be noticeable in a real situation.
Also, feel free to involve each person in turn in organizing and facilitating the exercise. There is no need for a facilitator in this context. Second, it’s not always the leader or coordinator who has to take on this responsibility. The reason is simple: that person also needs to be able to participate freely, without facilitating, and the new facilitator creates a different kind of evolution that his or her colleagues are also not used to. Finally, as with a tabletop exercise, it is important to make a summary at the very end of the speed testing, limiting it to about five recommendations. Only the essentials should be retained, as this is a streamlined process.
In short, speed testing exercises do not replace tabletop exercises, but they remain an effective way to quickly and interactively validate the knowledge of your resources involved in the various resilience plans. If you need advice and support for your company’s tests and exercises, do not hesitate to contact Benoit Racette Services-conseils inc. now: [email protected].