OODA as a Business Operations Management Framework
A White Paper Adapted from

Whiskey and Decisions
A highly adaptive learning cycle characterized by 4 stages:
 Observe
 Orient
 Decide
 Act

 OODA Cycles create experi...
 Successful organizations understand that no plan or passes the

test of time and unknowns.

 Great decision makers unde...
= Plan
 Do not focus on perfection
 Focus on a solid 75% solution and “GO”
 Reward action which creates momentum and learning
...
Actual Opportunities, Risks and Unknowns

Missed, Unconsidered,
.hastily acted upon, reacted to

Known's

A

K

E
F

Plann...
4:1 OODA Cycle =
4 Times better understanding of the multiple unknowns from
earlier cycles. Increases Flexibility and plac...
Coordinate
Communicate
Execute
Sustain
Enforce
Monitor
Report

Observe

Act

Trends
Patterns
Condition Assessment
Threats
...
Commitment to a Synchronized Execution of planning
and Operations using OODA cycles to measure Operational Velocity
Succes...
1st Strategic OODA Complete ~80 Hours in ? Months

1st Strategic OODA

= Strategic Concepts to Operational Approval

= Tas...
Strategic
Observations

Strategic Observations

BU Observe

BU Action
to
Reduce Obstacles

BU Observe
Simulation

Strategi...
Value of Iterative Thought and Agreement
Many

Insight Growth and Chance of Success

X-Team Planning Activities and Cycles...
Many

Insight Growth and Chance of Success

X-Team Planning Activities and Cycles

High

ORG OODA Cycle 1 = 70% chance of ...
Org Cycle 3
Many

High

Final Coordination

Test and Simulate

Generic Options
Analysis

Validation & Acceptance

Future S...
Cycle 3 - Contingency

Cycle 2 - Opportunity

Test and Simulate

Final Coordination

X-Team Planning Activities and Cycles...
OODA for businesses
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OODA for businesses

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Planning and Execution within a Management Learning Cycle that creates Advantage
Successful organizations understand that no plan or passes the test of time and unknowns. Great decision makers understand that a plan is useless until it isn’t acted upon. Organizations, like people, learn through practice and application. Actions beget outcomes – not plans. Successful organizations do not waste precious time trying to capture every last risk, assumption and obstacle in a detailed plan rather they favor a flexible plan that accepts large amounts of unknowns but retains flexibility and smaller quicker decisions where they can observe their environment, orient themselves within the context of that environment, recommend and make decisions to affect outcomes that lead to success, and act to shore up success. Successful organizations are adept at this Observe Orient Decide Act process. They understand that failure is caused as much by complexity, indecision and poor timing as it is by unanticipated variables – therefore they conclude that it is better to Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act --quickly (OODAq).

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OODA for businesses

  1. 1. OODA as a Business Operations Management Framework A White Paper Adapted from Whiskey and Decisions
  2. 2. A highly adaptive learning cycle characterized by 4 stages:  Observe  Orient  Decide  Act  OODA Cycles create experiential knowledge  Knowledge exponentially increases effectiveness through:  Improved Skills  Improved predictions  Improved adaptability  Speed of decision making  Air Force Colonel John Boyd (1927-1997) first coined the term OODA Loop to describe a high stakes, tactical combat decision-making pattern.
  3. 3.  Successful organizations understand that no plan or passes the test of time and unknowns.  Great decision makers understand that a plan is useless until it is acted upon.  Organizations, like people, learn through repetition.  Actions begets outcomes  Outcomes generate learning opportunities  This process is very intuitive and easy to recall  It is by nature adaptive
  4. 4. = Plan
  5. 5.  Do not focus on perfection  Focus on a solid 75% solution and “GO”  Reward action which creates momentum and learning  Learning Organizations Recognize Advantages and Opportunities with increased clarity and accuracy  Adaptive organizations can seize opportunities when presented
  6. 6. Actual Opportunities, Risks and Unknowns Missed, Unconsidered, .hastily acted upon, reacted to Known's A K E F Planned Opportunities, Risks Acted upon OODA:1 A B C G C B OODA:2 D Anticipated Opportunities and Risks = Planned for in OODA 1 H 2008 2009 D B Unforeseen Risk D Actually affects the Plan far more than C. C Foreseen E A Known G K Myriad of unknowns remain such! (Missed Opportunities) UnSeen F (Missed Opportunity) F Set conditions for success in E and H (Missed Opportunity) H Require a Year to Develop (Missed Opportunity) Optimize and compress the decision cycle to Move out of the React Zone
  7. 7. 4:1 OODA Cycle = 4 Times better understanding of the multiple unknowns from earlier cycles. Increases Flexibility and places the company ahead of our competitors in a single loop 4 1 2 3 What Conditions and Actions must we create? How do we mitigate risks and obstacles? V P CF I B DG A L M H E JK N 2008 X O Q R U F A D G E J L H N K 2011 2012 2013 V X I MO Y 2010 P C Z ST 2009 B W 5 yr Vision Q W R U ST Z Y Build Bridges and Destroy Obstacles!
  8. 8. Coordinate Communicate Execute Sustain Enforce Monitor Report Observe Act Trends Patterns Condition Assessment Threats Opportunities FOCUSED VISION Decide Orient Note: The Budget is viewed as a resource, a constraint and a metric of success - - not a strategy or a vision. Define Success Options Courses of Action Evaluation Simulate/Test Synthesize Refine Recommend
  9. 9. Commitment to a Synchronized Execution of planning and Operations using OODA cycles to measure Operational Velocity Success = Commitment and Participation = 80 hours • Meeting 1: 5 hrs Facilitator Lead Targeted Assistance in Preparation Meeting 2: Offsite 8hrs Prep: 8hrs • • • • • What are the Brutal Internal Facts - TAT, Quality, Customer Satisfaction, Product, Service, Revenue, Growth, market position How did we get in the current condition (Forensic Intelligence) Environment – Starting States and Assumptions to carry forward Futures Analysis (Define the realm of Possible) Visioning (Pinpoint year endstate with Annual Success Markers & Metrics) Identify the Critical Path to success – Nested BU Task and Purpose to achieve the critical path states. (Strategic Level Detail with BU SWAGs) – Relate, evaluate and synchronize desired affects on peer units, revenue, customer satisfaction, service volume, product development, quality and TAT, growth and market position. Meeting 3: 4hrs Prep: 4hrs Meeting 4: 4hrs Prep: 4hrs Meeting 5: 2 hrs Internal: 80 hrs Meetings 6-10: 1 hour each BU 40 hrs prep per BU • • • • • • Operational Estimates - generate business unit plans to support this strategic vision (task organization of people and resources) Simulation of the critical path. Strategic Decision Brief to CEO () Operational Planning (Business units conduct the same steps as above but focus on synchronizing their internal plan with internal assets Operational Back Briefs to CEO (Verification of BU synchronization around the strategic plan) Cycle 1 complete – Cycle 2 starts with KPI FEEDBACK!
  10. 10. 1st Strategic OODA Complete ~80 Hours in ? Months 1st Strategic OODA = Strategic Concepts to Operational Approval = Task and Purpose = Decisions by Echelon 5 Year Plan? 2 0 0 8 Clear 5 Yr Vision Concept Annual Muscle Moves Strategic Concepts Approval Supporting Plans/Validated Approved Deconflict Operational Inconsistency Monitor – Sept OCT start 2014 Strategic Decisions Operational Nesting Operational Planning P Business Alignment L A N Tactical Decisions and Operations Simulations Buy-in Jan 31st Preparation Operational Capability Assessments Suitable Feasible Acceptable Detailed Supporting Plans Detailed Specs Approved Detailed Specs Completed End March Start OODA 1 Monitor and Adjust Operational Inconsistency End OCT –Start Build 2014
  11. 11. Strategic Observations Strategic Observations BU Observe BU Action to Reduce Obstacles BU Observe Simulation Strategic Orientation COA Development BU Orient Adapt to lessons From the Simulation Strategic Direction BU Orient = COA Ideas & Estimates BU Decision on Adjustments BU Decisions = Capabilities and Limitations Decisions = Negotiated Assessments Strategy Decision
  12. 12. Value of Iterative Thought and Agreement Many Insight Growth and Chance of Success X-Team Planning Activities and Cycles High Else if Relevance & Acceptance Gained - - Insight Growth Facts , Assumptions Trends One Hours Low Growth stunted by indecision and lack of teamwork to forge ahead Weeks Time Spent Planning -Lesson - - Record and forge ahead to increase depth of Insight and Increased situational Understanding Months
  13. 13. Many Insight Growth and Chance of Success X-Team Planning Activities and Cycles High ORG OODA Cycle 1 = 70% chance of success solution at the decision point Final Coordination Plan Approval Test and Simulate Time and circumstance serve as countervailing forces and degrade chances of success - - Stuff Happens, and the competitor doesn’t always do what you want him to do Synchronization Approval Coordinate Critical Path Actions Plan SFA (Suit, Feasible, Accept) Generic Options Analysis Validation & Acceptance Future State Problem Framing Validation & Acceptance Current State Problem Framing Relevance & Acceptance Facts , Assumptions Trends One Hours Growth stunted by indecision and lack of teamwork to forge ahead Weeks Low Months Time Spent Planning - Grow Insight by moving the planning group all the way through the OODA cycle - - Like outcome is a 70% solution! - However, as Time Marches on, The plan must continuously adapt to changing circumstances in the 30%
  14. 14. Org Cycle 3 Many High Final Coordination Test and Simulate Generic Options Analysis Validation & Acceptance Future State Problem Framing Validation & Acceptance Current State Problem Framing Insight from OODA Cycle 1 passed Insight from OODA Cycle 1 passed SFA (Suit, Feasible, Accept) Coordinate Critical Path Actions Plan Synchronization Approval Plan Approval Coordinate Critical Path Actions Plan Synchronization Approval Coordinate Critical Path Actions Plan SFA (Suit, Feasible, Accept) Generic Options Analysis Validation & Acceptance Future State Problem Framing SFA (Suit, Feasible, Accept) Generic Options Analysis Validation & Acceptance Future State Problem Framing Insight Growth and Chance of Success Plan Approval Final Coordination Synchronization Approval Test and Simulate Insight from OODA Cycle 1 passed Final Coordination ORG OODA Cycle 1 Test and Simulate Plan Approval Insight from OODA Cycle 1 passed X-Team Planning Activities and Cycles Org Cycle 2 Validation & Acceptance Current State Problem Framing Validation & Acceptance Relevance & Acceptance Current State Problem Framing Facts , Assumptions Trends Relevance & Acceptance Facts , Assumptions Trends Relevance & Acceptance Facts , Assumptions Trends One Hours Growth stunted by indecision and lack of teamwork to forge ahead Weeks Low Months Time Spent Planning -Repeat the cycles to account for the unexpected 30% - ID plan and watch for Branches and sequels to your critical path
  15. 15. Cycle 3 - Contingency Cycle 2 - Opportunity Test and Simulate Final Coordination X-Team Planning Activities and Cycles Cycle 2 - Contingency Cycle 1-Base Synchronization Approval Synchronization Approval Test and Simulate SFA (Suit, Feasible, Accept) Generic Options Analysis Validation & Acceptance Future State Problem Framing Validation & Acceptance Current State Problem Framing Relevance & Acceptance SFA (Suit, Feasible, Accept) Coordinate Critical Path Actions Plan Synchronization Approval Coordinate Critical Path Actions Plan Coordinate Critical Path Actions Plan Test and Simulate Plan Approval SFA (Suit, Feasible, Accept) Generic Options Analysis Validation & Acceptance Future State Problem Framing Validation & Acceptance Current State Problem Framing Coordinate Critical Path Actions Plan Test and Simulate Plan Approval Final Coordination Synchronization Approval Plan Approval Final Coordination Generic Options Analysis Validation & Acceptance Future State Problem Framing Validation & Acceptance Current State Problem Framing SFA (Suit, Feasible, Accept) Generic Options Analysis Validation & Acceptance Future State Problem Framing Validation & Acceptance Current State Problem Framing Relevance & Acceptance Facts , Assumptions Trends Relevance & Acceptance Facts , Assumptions Trends Relevance & Acceptance Facts , Assumptions Trends Facts , Assumptions Trends One Hours High Insight Growth and Chance of Success Many Low Weeks Time Spent Planning -Compress the cycle as much as possible to increase knowledge and success -”The plan is to keep planning- Observe-Orient-Decide and Act to achieve the larger vision while adjusting as necessary to account for the 30% unknown factor. Months
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