97 Agile Ideas - Idea Number 14
The OODA Loop
John Boyd was an American fighter pilot who became a fighter pilot instructor. After study for a degree in engineering he discovered a way of comparing the manouevrability of fighter planes that arguably resulted in the design of a number of high performance planes.
Then Boyd stopped flying and concentrated on understanding and thinking about military strategy. The OODA loop is a result of that thinking. Boyd suggest that to thrive in a complex competitive environment requires iteration over the following stages.
The team need to observe what's going on.
The team need to make sense of what they've seen.
The team need to decide what they're going to do.
They need to do it.
An important observation from Boyd is that if a team can get "inside" the OODA loop of their opponents, that is they can cycle through the stages of the learning more quickly than an opponent, they will beat their opponent. Another important idea that Boyd stressed was the crucial role of culture, learning and education in the orient phase. Boyd was a passionately patriotic American and genuiunely believed that the country with the best "culture" would win.