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Scenario/Strategic Thinking


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Managing Projects Well

Requirements Gathering

Scenario and Strategic Thinking

Conflict Resolution

Critical Thinking

Winning Negotiations

Boot Camp for Software Quality

Words that Change Minds

Cost of Quality

Mission and Vision Planning

Strategic Partnering

Quality as a Way of Life

Master Facilitation

Getting Your Point Across

Building a World Class Organization



Quality Assurance Campus

Quality Assurance Institute of India

Quality Investment in People


The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. 
Albert Einstein 

Creativity  WEBinar                           Register Now

Surviving with Scenario Planning

Abstract: This WEBinar shows how to prepare for the future using 3 tools: 1) Analyzing what can and cannot be changed; 2) Noting things essential to your future; 3) Keeping multiple scenarios open.

A method for people who think in a straightforward, linear, reductionistic, and predictable manner to think backward from the future to the present. The process unearths pivotal assumptions and agendas that underlie project and business plans. It is these "hidden" assumptions and agendas that can sometimes cause surprises translating into delays and additional costs that are symptomatic of poor planning

Scenario Planning or multi-track planning relies on three (3) major tools. The three major tools of Scenario Planning include: 

Tool 1: Analyzing what can and cannot be changed 

Tool 2: Noticing and/or cultivating methods to notice things that may at first appear insignificant yet can become essential to your future.

Tool 3: Keeping multiple scenarios of the future as REAL possibilities when making your decisions on how to proceed.

One of the top five reasons projects fail is organizations fail to plan upfront.  - PMI NETWORK, OCT 2006

What has to be there, Essential Requirements. Scenario Planning techniques answer the question "What has to be there?" What are the essential requirements? Using Scenario Planning techniques we must learn not only how to formulate scenarios but how to get people (ourselves include) to accept them as real possibilities. No more fiction. For example, Scenario Planning is extremely useful as a tool for Use Cases

What we find over and over again is that people fail to think of vital requirements (or effectively problem solve) because they can't fully place themselves in the future situation. 

For example, in our workshop, Managing Projects Well, we present participants with a "survival" scenario and ask them to define the principal problem to be solved. More often than not the participants rush right past the real problem to the symptom of the problem

What we've found is that when we "context" paint the "scenario" situation for them in which they find themselves so that it is REAL, like they are really THERE, they are able to figure out the real problem much faster. This is the power of Scenario Planning. In fact, the real problem becomes apparent. 

What can and cannot be changed, Practicing Future think can sometimes be like remembering your day: you can sometimes worry over things over which you have absolute control and then want to change everything over which you have none. But, this is just a bad habit. Scenario Planning helps us discern between what we can and cannot control. It can be a problem when we don't do this. 

For example, a participant asked for advice on how he might stop a co-manager from calling impromptu meetings at great inconvenience to other team members. The other manager was demanding team members meet at the last minute and it was causing a lot of disruption and bad will.  

Well, the participant was so intently focused on changing the other guy that he couldn't think of such obvious and simple solutions such as recording or video-taping the meeting for those who couldn't attend impromptu meetings. 

How many times do you think it would take for this guy to be alone in a meeting room with a recording device before he figured out that he needed to give people more advance notice of meeting times?  

Which "What If" questions are the most important? Scenario Planning helps us establish priorities by teaching us to ask two (2) fundamental questions of constructed scenarios: 

1.  What would we do if….?

For example, Shell’s managers discussed a world of $15-a-barrel oil when the price was $30, and no one believed it would fall.  When it did, they were ready. 

2.  What needs to happen if…? Or, What needs to happen for this optimistic future to come true? (Asking this question reveals assumptions.) 
For example, the owners of the Titanic wanted to believe that she was “unsinkable.” Someone could have asked the question: “What has to happen for this wish to come true?” 
Answer: She would have had to been able to collide at full speed with an iceberg or some other threatening object without sustaining major damage.
In this way, the owners of the White Star Line could have  established their priorities a little better, don't you think?

Simple, But Not Easy. Yes, these questions seem simple; but asking them is usually not easy for most of us because it requires a willingness to "think" differently and to openly express weaknesses and vulnerabilities in project or business plans. This may be too uncomfortable for some cultures. 

In America, we admire leaders who have a strong sense of vision and unwavering determination. Scenario Planning puts this kind of thinking on its' proverbial "head." It rewards those of us who are "nay-sayers" giving voice to potentially disastrous issues or possibilities. Scenario Planning allows for the expression of doubt which sometimes is squelched until it is too late to react without considerable embarrassment, cost, etc.

There are four different ways one might use the techniques we will introduce in this WEBinar on Scenario Planning:

1. To strengthen management development
Scenario Planning raises questions in key areas of management development. 
2. To put Scenario Planning to work in your organization
3. To teach the principles
4.  Executive-Level Scenario Planning
Ideas to help senior managers use Scenario Planning as a strategic planning tool. 


Conducted Wed. February 6, 2013

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Key Objectives

Note: For more detail on the key learning objectives of the full course go to Testing Course.


About the speaker: 
Stephen A. Bender, PMP, CSQA, CSTE, CQE

Steve Bender, President of The Quality Connection, is a management consultant, past Senior Examiner for New York State's Excelsior Award, and veteran in Quality Assurance. He holds Bachelor's (BSEE, '69) and Master's (MSCS, '71) degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and was listed in The Yearbook of Authorities, Experts, and Spokespersons and is a Life Member of the International Registry of Who's Who. He has participated in numerous areas in information technology, service, manufacturing, human resources, executive management, and strategic management consulting. With extensive experience in Total Quality Management and rapid culture change added to over 30 years in Information Systems, his interactive style is known to thousands of attendees.  more->

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Quality \conn\, To conduct or direct the steering of; the control exercised by one who steers a vessel 

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