Assumption-Based Planning

A Tool for Reducing Avoidable Surprises

by James A. Dewar

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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 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.

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