Assumption-Based Planning

A Tool for Reducing Avoidable Surprises

by James A. Dewar

Purchase Information

Check availability on Amazon.com

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 of the assumptions underlying the plans of an organization as possible 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 become buried in one's thinking. The book also presents steps for monitoring the vulnerable assumptions of a plan, for taking action to control those vulnerable assumptions when possible, and for preparing the organization for the potential failure of those assumptions when control is not possible. This work offers examples and practical advice for those interested in carrying out an application of ABP in the fields of business, management, strategic planning and engineering, as well as military applications.

Copies are available from:
Cambridge University Press
40 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011-4211
Customer Service Telephone: 1-800-872-7423
Fax: 914-937-4712

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Commercial book series. Periodically, RAND Corporation researchers publish with commercial presses. These books are not available from RAND but can be requested directly from the publisher, except in cases where the rights have reverted to RAND and we have republished a new edition.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.