Of Dogfights and Developers: John Boyd, Agile and the OODA Loop

Session Category :  Talk 
June 10, 2016
15:30  -  16:15

TalkĀ 50min

As the best military thinker of the post-war generation, John Boyd devised his own version of the Deming/Shewart Plan/Do/Check/Act cycle – the OODA Loop.

In the OODA loop, a group, be it a product team or a military deployment, observe a problem; orient themselves towards potential solution; decide on a course of action; act and then repeat the cycle. Boyd claimed that any team that could cycle through the OODA loop more quickly than their opponents would be more successful than their enemies or opponents. Boyd also claimed that the quality of culture and education available to the team in the orient phase was the critically important influence on the quality of decisions that were made. He genuinely believed that in a conflict situation, the side with the ‘best’ culture available to it in the orient phase would win.

In this talk I investigate these two idea of ‘speed around the loop’ and ‘quality of culture’ and explore the powerful impact an understand of these ideas might have on the effectiveness of software development teams – even those that are already following a methodology such as Scrum.


Session Category :  Talk