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Wherein we learn the planning art of Murphjitsu, to aid us in all pursuits from intergalactic quests to improving our lives.

Instructional Material

No matter your profession or hobbies, making plans is always something you will have to do. You may as well be good at it.

However, it is very easy to fail at making a plan. You have to be able to predict all the ways in which your plan could fail, and you have to be able to effectively counter those failure modes, and you have to mitigate the consequences when you fail to counter a failure.

People most often fail at the first step of that process.

When people are asked for a “realistic” scenario, they envision everything going exactly as planned, with no unexpected delays or unforeseen catastrophes—the same vision as their “best case.”

Whenever you want to make a plan, one of the best things you can do is get out of your own head and seek outside counsel. Preferably, seek out someone who has done something similar, and ask them what the worst case scenario might look like, and what you could do to avoid it.

Another tool at your disposal is a "pre-mortem". The idea of a pre-mortem was coined by Daniel Kahneman, and it is a way of trying to emulate outside counsel, as well as determine likely failure modes. It has been expanded upon, and is here called "Murphyjitsu" (referring to Murphy's Law, which states "anything that can go wrong, will").

Cohort Activity: Crisis Point at Station 7 Continuation

You are a team of Confessors onboard Station 7, in the year 3025. Your job is to spot biases in the crew, to make sure all decisions are made optimally.

Since the incident where your team retrieved life-saving fuel, your captain has decided that it might be a good idea to search for the aliens that had offered to assist you.

Test Run [15 minutes]

The captain asks the engineer how soon they can have the ship ready for a test run to a neighboring star system, and the engineer confidently responds that their team can have it done within 48hrs.

You have precious little time to spare, only a couple weeks before you must depart on the search mission, so it's important you are able to accurately plan around this test run. What follow up questions can you ask to make sure you are getting an accurate time estimate?

The Journey [15 minutes]

Congratulations! The test run was successful, and you were able to make all other preparations in time. In the final days of preparation, it is time to harden our strategy for the actual mission.

The Captain calls together a meeting of the officers, and some possible worst-case-scenarios are proposed. Perform the Murphyjitsu exercise for 3 possible failure modes. Start at Step 3 of the exercise.

The Simulation [15 minutes]

You are not yet ready for the final encounter, so we will end the simulation there. It was designed to help you get the feel for Murphyjitsu, and has hopefully succeeded.

A future workshop will test your mettle against a superintelligent species.

In the meantime, grab your Character Sheet, choose the highest impact, solvability, or priority feature to run Murphyjitsu on; preferably one that you can action within the next week. We look forward to hearing how you did!

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