Wednesday, May 29, 2013

OODA Loop and Decisionmaking (Boyd's Cycle)

John Boyd on Wikipedia

Colonel John Boyd (USAF) was an exceptional fighter pilot and military strategist. Part of his talents were in his ability to analyse a situation and synthesize options in order to make an informed  decision. He developed a decision-making process called Boyd's Cycle, or more commonly known as OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) Loop. It was originally designed to depict the decision-making process a fighter pilot went through in conducting a combat "dogfight" against an enemy (opponent) aircraft. The ongoing and competitive decision-making process each goes through in trying to gain positional advantage over each other to engage their opponent with their weapon systems results in the pilots continually cycling (looping) through the OODA Loop process.     

The above graphic of the OODA Loop is in its basic form. Since its development, OODA Loop has been used for everything from strategic organizational decisions to individual decision-making, military planning, sports, and it is very popular in the business world. 

The below graphic is the OODA Loop with a more advanced depiction of the process with a more explanatory breakdown of the components associated with each step in the OODA process. 

Class Discussion Points:
Background: On Tuesday when we conducted the competitive drill game of Snake (individuals / small groups conduct drill movements in a large open space with the object of intersecting another team / individual. Once an individual or team is intersected they are absorbed by that team until one team wins), each of you was performing an ongoing decision-making process to either catch or avoid being caught by your competitor. 


  1. What are some examples in everyday life where the OODA Loop decision-making process is involved?
  2. What is the advantage of being able to make decisions quicker?
  3. In a competitive situation, what is the benefit of being able to make a decision quicker than your opponent or adversary?
  4. Using the concept of OODA Loop how can you improve your ability to "out-cycle" your competitor? What step could you individually or organizationally develop to out-cycle or gain an advantage over a competitor...? How could you do that?
Homework Assignment:   Identify the situations, during the remainder of your day and night, that requires you to use the OODA Loop process. We will discuss them in class tomorrow.  

Decision-making is a skill that is invaluable to being successful in life no matter what the endeavour. 

1 comment:

  1. the time i think that i use the OODA loop is when i make decision on like what i should eat or where should i go or do. but some how it effect our lives some how on what decision and actions we do.