Guiding Quote

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Einstein

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Uncertainty and the OODA Loop

This week I heard about two incidents that affected a good friend of mine all in the same week. In the first instance the project she was running had it's business analyst re-assigned at extremely short notice, less than a day. Now given her knowledge of the company's current activities she was annoyed, but not shocked. She'd been anticipating it for a week or more. So the only really uncertain element was the timing. She'd already formulated options for managing the situation. The individual had been asked to make sure certain key project artifacts were either completed or nearly finished. Here her reliance on the OODA loop stood her in good stead. She'd been Observing the environment and formulating her options. Working out what needed to be done, who needed to be consulted and what decisions needed to be taken by who. So, when it occurred she was able to quickly Orientate to the new situation and make Decisions and start to Act

The second instance involved a key team member on another project having emergency heart surgery: There one morning, in the the ER that afternoon. So now she's scrambling on a project that has major implications and whose sole expert is now out for at least two months. She's currently in the Orientate phase. She needs to bring together both her personal knowledge and her teams expertise to develop a new plan.

Uncertainty, in it's various guises, had occurred on her projects. Now if she was a deterministic type of person she'd be cursing her luck and running off to her manager asking for help and refusing to budge until guidance had been given. However she's a probabilistic type, understands that stuff happens and she's going to keep moving forward while waiting for some guidance from her managers.  She understands that uncertainty is the way of the world and that you embrace it and get on with it. Using the OODA loop mental set she's able to re-calibrate her expectations and her plans.

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