You have laid the foundation of your exercise, now you can start planning. Click on a step to learn more.



Select an Exercise Type

There is no one-size-fits-all prescription for selecting the “right” exercise. Each community or organization is unique in terms of how drought affects it, the issues that influence water management, and its capabilities for developing, convening, and evaluating an exercise. No guide or tool can capture these unique needs and then point to a single, ideal exercise for your community. This decision should be based upon conversations with those who will help you organize and develop the exercise to find the right balance.



With Exercise Foundation Worksheets 1 through 5, you began thinking about and discussing the things that you’ll need to consider when selecting an exercise. Planning Worksheet #1: Select an Exercise Type helps you continue those discussions, weigh select factors, and discover which exercise types are most compatible with your objectives, planning stage, and capacity.


Estimate Costs

An exercise’s general expenses will vary depending on your capacity for developing the exercise and your level of ambition (type of exercise, the complexity of the scenario, your desired outcomes, and the technology and materials used by participants during the exercise). For example, if your staff do not have the expertise or time to develop, facilitate, or evaluate the exercise you may need to contract with subject matter experts or hire a private consulting firm to develop the exercise. Because costs drive exercise development, it’s important to estimate these early in the planning phase.


Example expenses associated with developing, convening, and evaluating 
a drought scenario-based exercise


Planning Worksheet #2: Estimate the Costs provides a template for planning and tracking your exercise expenses.


Gain support

Part of the groundwork for holding a drought scenario-based exercise is getting buy-in from your community or organization’s leaders and decision-makers. Their support helps set the tone for success. Participants also need to see this as a valuable way to spend their time. For worthwhile discussions to occur during the exercise, participants need to understand what they can gain from taking part.

Planning Worksheet #3: Developing Talking Points helps you create a resource for communicating with leaders and decision-makers; potential funders; participating organizations, agencies, and stakeholders; and the media.


Identify Working Groups

Working groups are the sub-units of the development team that consist of people who collaborate to accomplish the tasks and create the products needed to design, deliver, and assess the impact of the exercise. You can find additional information on the working group tasks in Design, the next section of this website.



Use Planning Worksheet #4: Identify Working Groups to record working group leadership and membership.