Assumption-Based Planning: A Tool for Reducing Avoidable Surprises

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 17, 2002 - Business & Economics - 248 pages
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Unwelcome surprises in the life of any organization can often be traced to the failure of an assumption that the organization's leadership didn't anticipate or had "forgotten" it was making. Assumption-based planning (ABP) is a tool for identifying as many as possible of the assumptions underlying the plans of an organization and bringing those assumptions explicitly into the planning process.This book presents a variety of techniques for rooting out those vulnerable, crucial assumptions that, through familiarity or other reasons, have gotten buried in one's thinking. The book also presents steps for monitoring all the vulnerable assumptions of a plan, for taking actions to control those vulnerable assumptions where possible, and for preparing the organization for the potential failure of those assumptions where control is not possible.
 

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Contents

The essence of AssumptionBased Planning
1
How does AssumptionBased Planning work?
2
What is the valueadded of ABP?
5
Who has used ABP and how did it face?
8
What are ABPs Strengths and weaknesses?
9
A taxonomy of assumptions
14
The Taxonomic tree of assumptions
16
Other characteristics of assumptions
28
Types of shaping action
111
Identifying existing shaping actions
114
Techniques for developing new shaping actions
115
Step 5 developing hedging actions
121
Definition of hedging actions
123
Selling hedging actions
128
Identifying existing hedging actions
129
Developing hedging actions using scenarios
130

Step 1 identifying assumptions
32
Where to look for assumptions
33
General aspects of identifying assumptions
36
Techniques for identifying assumptions
37
Which technique to use when
56
How many assumptions to identify
59
Step 2 identifying loadbearing vulnerable assumptions
64
Identifying loadbearing assumptions
66
Identifying vulnerable assumptions
71
Ranking the loadbearing vulnerable assumptions
85
How many loadbearing vulnerable assumptions will there be?
87
Step 3 identifying signposts
91
Definition of signpost
92
Concepts similar to signposts
94
How important is important?
96
Techniques for identifying signposts
100
Linking signposts and warning times
104
Step 4 developing shaping actions
108
Definition of shaping action
109
Developing hedging actions without using scenarios
146
Guarding against underhedging
148
Integrating hedging actions into a plan
149
Hedging actions and replanning
150
The art of conducting ABP
154
Creating the general setup
155
Identifying loadbearing vulnerable assumptions
159
Agreeing on signposts
169
Introducing scenarios
170
Beyond ABP as a postplanning tool
172
Using ABP during planning
173
AssuptionBased Thinking
178
An example of ABTArmy NCO leader development
180
Final word
183
AssumptionBased Planning and the planning literature
185
Bibliography
217
Glossary
229
Index
237
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