After completing a business continuity or disaster recovery plan, the tendency is for a company to sit back and be proud of their accomplishment. However completing and publishing your plan is just one step in the planning life cycle. Another important part of the process is testing your plan.
A tabletop exercise allows your recovery team leaders to use a test disaster scenario to examine your documented recovery tasks. A physical test of your plan is the actual performance of your recovery tasks as they are documented in your plan. Both tests give you an opportunity to make sure all needed recovery tasks have been documented and to ensure that what has been documented is correct. Your exercise will also uncover any changes or enhancements that need to be made to your plan documentation.
Ideally you should perform each of these types of tests at least once a year (feel free to do them more often). However, remember that the more you test your plan, the more confident you will be that your plan will be ready for anything at disaster time!