Present the best possible case against a proposed plan.
Devil’s Advocate is an age old method that builds the best possible case against a proposed plan, judgment, or decision. This is a common tool used to challenge fixed 'mindsets' or entrenched 'groupthink'.
To challenge a proposal using the Devil's Advocate process:
Step 1: Clearly define the proposed plan, judgment, or decision.
Step 2: Remember the person playing the Devil’s Advocate is acting out a role. This role-playing exercise must NOT include personal views.
Step 4: Is there data missing? Was any anomalous data ignored? Are there gaps in information?
Step 5: Test key assumptions. Have all the assumptions been identified? If they are not valid then what impact would that have? Use the Assumptions tool.
Step 6: Identify sources of uncertainty.
Step 7: Review the analytically processes used to reach the conclusion. Did it suffer from any common analytical pitfalls? (see Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, 2006)
Step 8: Was there any faulty logic in the supporting arguments?
Step 9: Was causation confused with correlation?
Step 10: Re-assess your level of confidence in your original conclusion.
Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, Richards J. Heuer, Jr., New York: Novinka Books, 2006.
Handbook of Analytic Tools and Techniques, Randolph H. Pherson, Reston, VA: Pherson Associates, 2008.
Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis, Richards Heuer, Jr. and Randolph H. Pherson, Washington DC: CQ Press, 2011.