Strategy framework - nobl adaptive planning

Alternative Titles: Nobl Adaptive Planning
Located in: Leadership
Status: 🌱 Seedling

Learn more about Nobl's Adaptive Planning. Check out the Google Slide deck in the blog post for a deeper dive.

I appreciate that Nobl's Adaptive Planning approach is based around the premise that you will be wrong.

Elements of Adaptive Planning

Core Values

Note, these link out to other pages since the concepts outlined by Nobl are general and worthwhile to dive deeper into.


  • Harvesting and Testing of Hypotheses - ask leaders and teams to make explicit and transparent hypotheses. At the end of each quarter, reflect and revise the hypotheses based on the previous quarter.
  • Balanced Strategic Themes - Have 3-5 balanced strategic themes that group initiatives. These themes should be based on a 3-5 year timeline.
  • Delineating Work as “Lights-On” vs “Bets - Separate out the work that are essential to running the business (existing business lines, etc) and the uncertain initiatives.
  • Agile Teaming for “Bet” Teams - The teams focused on bets should adopt an agile approach even if they are not product teams.
  • Monthly Roundtables - The bet teams underneath a strategic theme should meet monthly to share lessons learned and make revisions. The outputs of the meeting should be shared with the organization
  • Quarterly Alignment - Teams share their past results and upcomign plans. A group reviews these plans to identify conflicts or issues. (it's not up to this group to solve the problems, they just identify them)
  • Yearly Forecasts, Ongoing Dispersions - Use a yearly budget forecast that is revised every quarter. The bet teams should get additional funding by passing certain milestones.
  • Minimum Viable Bureaucracy - Focus on trust and avoid complexity. You need just enough process to make things work.
  • Rigorous Team Development - Create an environment of psychological safety and team development.
  • Strategy as Coaching Function - With this approach, strategy is a shared responsibility. The people primarily focused on strategy need to shift into a coaching role.
  • Accelerated Learning and Development - Because teams will be pushed to try new things, there needs to be options for them to learn and develop through funded programs.
  • Visual Project Management - Create a shared and visual of the work in progress and backlog across the entire organization. Make sure to show the WIP limits across the teams.

They outline a few elements to implement this process

  • 202107230701 Bets not Projects
  • Iterating on your hypotheses
  • Reviewing and releasing plans every quarter
  • Budgeting incrementally
  • Hosting regular learning roundtables

The Canvas

Creed example - Nike believes that if you have a body, you’re an athlete

Strategic Themes


  • Time horizon (short-, medium-, long-)
  • Distinct customer needs
  • Individual product lines


From Nobl's slide deck:

  • Key indicators: the measures that are believed to best signal forward momentum
  • Conditions: in terms of systems thinking, these are “stocks,” like total market size, that are resources for the organization to use
  • Models: any mental models or strategic frameworks that the team is reliant upon and believes best describes reality
  • Causation: strongly held beliefs about cause and effect relationships (e.g., if we do X, Y will undoubtedly happen)
  • Strategic trade-offs: prioritized courses of action, often stated top-down, and the evidence for why

Upkeep vs Bets

  • Upkeep should be less than 50% of the work
  • Upkeep is work that is considered a priority to keep the business or strategic theme operating