Learning Cycles Plan and Key Decision Flow Templates
We combined these templates because they use two different views but get shared with the same people. They are also both key management documents that get created during the Kickoff Event, and then maintained as the team’s plans evolve.
Key Decision Flow:
The Key Decision Flow uses the FREEFORM view to develop the sequence of Key Decisions for the current phase of work. At the end, the team has an understanding of how knowledge flows from one decision to another until the team reaches the endpoint for this phase.
Learning Cycles Plan:
This is a visual plan with a timescale, built with the GRID view. It shows a team’s Learning Cycles and Integration Events. On this plan, Learning Cycles represent periods of time, showing when the Learning Cycle starts and ends. Integration Events represent points in time when Key Decisions will be taken. Integration Events are always at the end of a Learning Cycle.
Instructions for use of this Template:
Prior to the Kickoff Event:
Create a copy of this template. Rename it “Key Decision Flow”.
Share this template with your team members.
Switch this board into the Freeform view.
Create a copy of the “Key Decision Flow” you created. When you do, select the option to “Share the new board with the same people.” Rename this board “Learning Cycles Plan.”
- Switch this board to Grid view.
- Prepopulate the Row Labels with either individual team members, functional groups, subsystems or subteams.
In the Kickoff Event Part 1: Build the Key Decision Flow.
- Copy ONLY the Key Decisions from the upper right-hand quadrant of the Key Decisions board.
- Place the Key Decisions in a logical sequence.
- Along the way, look for opportunities to:
- Push Key Decisions later, all the way to the Last Responsible Moment.
- Add any missing Key Decisions.
- Combine any Key Decisions that are essentially the same.
- Delete any that don’t make sense.
- Add provisional Key Decisions if that allows you to make a final Key Decision at a later Last Responsible Moment.
- Copy this sequence of Key Decisions into your Knowledge Gaps board.
In the Kickoff Event Part 2: Build the Learning Cycles Plan step-by-step. All cards get copied from the Knowledge Gaps board into this one. It’s best to do this one category at a time.
- Decide how long your Learning Cycles will be and how many Integration Events you will have.
- Use this to fill in the column headers with “Learning Cycle #_” and “Integration Event #_” – you can start by evenly spacing Integration Events across your plan.
- Put Key Decisions into Integration Events.
- Validate your Key Decision flow:
- Are Key Decisions in the right Integration Event? Can they be pushed even later?
- Do any Integration Events have no Key Decisions? You can remove those.
- Do you need to add any Integration Events to accommodate the Last Responsible Moments for Key Decisions?
- Is the spacing right? Do you need to rearrange the Learning Cycles to get the right amount of time between each Integration Event? Remember that Learning Cycles are always the same duration, but Integration Events don’t have to be evenly spaced.
- Load in your high priority Knowledge Gaps:
- Do Now
- Do Next
- Optimize the plan with only these Knowledge Gaps.
- Add in your remaining Knowledge Gaps — only to the extent that you have time:
- Do If Time –> Place in the Do Not Do column if you don’t have time.
- Do Not Do –> Place directly in the Do Not Do column.
- Add the dates to the column headers.
Learn More from Katherine Radeka:
Why Teams Need Deadlines to Pull Innovation
Rapid Learning Cycle Events Don’t Move: Three Ways the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework Reinforces Project Timeline
About the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework
The Rapid Learning Cycles framework accelerates innovation by helping teams make decisions at the right time with the right people and the best available knowledge. The framework was developed by Katherine Radeka and first fully explained in her book, The Shortest Distance Between You and Your New Product: How Innovators Use RLCs to Get Their Best Ideas to Market Faster. You can learn more about the framework at the Rapid Learning Cycles Institute.