I dream in electric OODA Loops…

If, if is a terrible word to use, if you consider the point of beginning and map that to where you are going to end up, is there a change? 

Does the impact of change alter the course? In physics, they talk about the Observer Effect. John Boyd documented a systematic approach to decision making that focused on changing the observation itself by modifying the orientation of the observer.

Change is that modification of the orientation of the observer. The 12-degree twist that helps the person see things differently.

But change is also dangerous. It presents risks and alterations that cause us to stop, consider and ultimately leads to failure and despair.

Change is also beautiful after a storm passes there is a freshness in the air. The change left by the storm can be good. It can also be horrible (as you survey the manage around you).

The concept of rhetoric in IT projects is one that makes me smile. Not because it is impossible and doesn’t fit. Nor is it because it seems strange and makes me wonder. Rather, because sometimes the very rhetoric of a project foretells its success or failure.

I’ve never heard a great athlete start out with the statement I was trying to finish second. The orientation of the athlete is I want to win.

That is the rhetoric of orientation. If you start the project with this isn’t going to work, guess what, it isn’t going to work.

John Boyd created the OODA loop system to improve decision making. A component of that system is the reality of feedback loops. When feedback loops aren’t open, or worse they are one way, they modify the orientation of the observer and have an adverse impact on the observation.

Bad observations lead to bad decisions.

Bad observations result in adverse actions (the last component of the OODA loop). Bad actions in John Boyd’s world (Military) resulted in deaths. In the business community, they result in the churn of change.





Done with feedback loops (between each phase) the system results in better decisions. Software architects that consider the OODA loops as a basis for requirements gathering (Orient and observe) will end up with stronger requirements going forward.

Change isn’t bad if it is part of the plan. The change also isn’t bad if it is fed back into the new plan (old plan + new orientation resulting in a better way forward!).


OODA Loop Fan