Leading the Disaster Exercise Design Team

Exercise design team meetings are used to orient the design team members to goals and objectives, brainstorm a story narrative, and create injects into the scenario to validate the areas being assessed. Further, the design meetings are used to prepare all aspects of the exercise event including materials like participant guides, actor and simulator team instructions, and evaluation forms.

The length of each design meeting and the number of meetings needed depends on the size and complexity of the exercise. Full-scale operational exercises may take several months to prepare, whereas, a simple table-top scenario may only take a few days or meetings.

If there were only time for two design team meetings, I would approach the meeting agendas as follows:

Meeting 1:

  • Orient participants to the exercise, what is important and painting a picture of success
  • Review plan, goals objectives, describe the basic narrative
  • Brainstorm to obtain team input regarding what might happen, what would be impacted.
  • In real time, update the scenario based on modifications to the 5 buckets with new injects
  • Assign homework for the team to create 5-7 new injects

Meeting 2:

  • Review every new inject
  • Have the team validate injects and eliminate any conflicts, make it real!
  • Brainstorm what has not been covered
  • Possible suggest more homework to evolve the narrative with new modifications
  • Review final preparations for the exercise event

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