Quick one…

The name “Stories, Hypotheses, and A3” was proving ironically unwieldy for a short training workshop. It now goes by the handle of the Probe! workshop; full title and details of its first outing on June 25th (EMEA-friendly timing) here:

That is all!



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Outcomes, alignment, and changes to our A3 template

Last week’s post Two new tools* and how I’m finding them useful has generated a lot of interest – after just six days it is already the 3rd most popular post of the year!

*Spoiler: Clean Language and the Cynefin Four Points Contextualisation exercise

One piece of detail I neglected to mention is a tweak I have made to the A3 template we use to guide people through the process of framing and developing their actions as hypothesis-driven changes. The header area at the top of the page has gained a new field: “Aligned to objective”.

It’s a chance to identify:

  1. a pre-existing high level objective to which this action aligns, or
  2. a summary outcome shared by this and other actions (a theme, if you like).

Better still, both at the same time – this is after all what alignment and strategy deployment [] are all about. Without alignment, so-called improvement can easily descend into just fixing stuff – interesting locally perhaps but unlikely to be important in the grand scheme of things.


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A3 template for hypothesis-driven change

[Update 23-Sep-2019: The version shown here has been updated a few times since publication. The latest version of this and several other Creative Commons resources may now be found at; clicking on the image below now takes you to the relevant resource page]

[Update 10-Aug-2016: The latest version is still downloadable here; see Outcomes, alignment, and changes to our A3 template for a description of recent changes]

As mentioned in On not teaching PDCA, I’ve been using an A3 template in my training classes and debrief/action workshops. I’m now releasing under the same model as Featureban – I’ve given it a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, you can download the PDF here, and drop me a line for the original .xlsx file if you want to translate it or adapt it in some other way.

I typically cover it in this order:

  1. Hypothesis
  2. Assumptions & Dependencies
  3. Pilot Experiments (potentially spawning new A3’s)
  4. Risks
  5. Pilot Experiments (again, if prompted by the risks)
  6. People
  7. Insights.


Screenshot 2016-08-10 10.46.46.png

What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?

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