I presented to a group last week who were a bit sceptical at my assertion that “best, worst, most likely” (BWML) is a really poor substitute for real scenarios. I accept that BWML can be interesting forecasts, but they aren’t effective scenarios Futurist Joseph Coates puts it best:

An odd number with a best case, a worst case, and a most likely case draws the user to prefer or emphasize the middle case. This best, worst, most likely model of the use of scenarios is deficient not only in regard to the tendency to drive toward accepting the middle, but it misses the point that alternative futures are real possibilities

Real scenario planning has very powerful benefits which in strategic workforce planning allow the organization to craft really effective, targeted talent strategies for competitive advantage…usually by enabling managers to suspend disbelief and explore totally different approaches in a non-threatening way. Forecasting from history does not do this. Also, forecasting from history is a lot less fun than scenario planning, and the business value it less. What’s not to love about scenario planning?

Are you developing real scenarios, or only BWML-ing?