MySolver™ Apps

Not a member yet?

Click here to 

Evaluate icon

Devil’s Advocate

Present the best possible case against a proposed plan.

Devil's Advocate

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 3:  Examine all the evidence. Was any contradictory data ignored? Could the data be used to explain an alternative conclusion? See the Hypothesis Generation and Rival Hypotheses tools.

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.

Publications icon


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.