In Business Continuity, what is the difference between a scenario and a test?
- A scenario is something that has happened to disrupt your business.
- A test is a way of checking your Business Continuity Plan can cope with a specific scenario.
Feedback from BCP Builder Community on LinkedIn:
- It is interesting how only a change in word (test to exercise) can play such a vital role in the success of a Business Continuity Program. As an example, one organization saw a drastic change in collaboration and participation at all levels as soon as they started calling a “Mock Drill” an “Evacuation Exercise” which made it something to learn from and improve.
- This is an example of how you can influence the perception of a statement or expected outcome by simply restating the message. Our use of words can sometimes cause others to perceive or form opinions before the “exercise” even begins.
- Testing is possible if there are specific elements of your recovery that are time bound and your evaluation plan will have to be very specific on what constitutes failure. Rather than test a plan, you should evaluate and validate the plan. It makes it a true learning experience.
- Exercises are the achievement of scenarios which can disrupt the business. The main goal is to choose an appropriate scenario that provides an indication of readiness and resilience.
- We should be more optimistic and have a positive outlook, whether we conduct a test or exercise. This is because, in a real scenario we should use best practice and apply it. This will ensure all identified weaknesses are replaced by strengths and good opportunities from the test to the real event. Whatever action we take during the scenario is based on the exercise we’ve conducted.
Good Practice Guidelines
- A test is defined as a “unique exercise” involving a pass or fail outcome, usually applied to technology or even a process. Plans are said to be rehearsed and the people elements exercised. This is usually all referred to collectively as exercises.
- The scenario is important, it must be a realistic threat or risk to the business to get the correct level of engagement. Exercises need to be realistic, plausible and most importantly they should have a given objective and a cost benefit analysis which incorporates the actual risks associated with undertaking the exercise.
If you want to increase your Organizational Resilience, start with preparing a Business Continuity Plan and check out BCP Builder’s Business Continuity Planning Templates.