What is Negative Branch Reservation?

Did you experience this utmost frustration when having implemented a solution or countermeasure to a problem, a new issue arises brought up by this fix?

This is what Negative Branch Reservation (NBR) intents to prevent.

Negative Branch Reservation is  a robustness test usually associated with a Future Reality Tree (FRT). It checks what could go wrong in the intended change process in order to anticipate possible negative outcomes.

In a Future Reality Tree, identified Undesirable Effects (UDE) are combined with “injections”, which are solutions or countermeasures to neutralize the UDE, a cure to the pain if you will, hence the name “injection”.

Yet some injections may have negative side effects, opening a chain of causes-and-effects developing what is called a Negative Branch, leading to new UDEs.

How does this happen?

Injections combine themselves with existing reality to produce some effect, this effect is either undesirable by itself or the cause of a new UDE further up the tree as the new effect can combine with existing reality and so on.

Being aware of this risk, Logical Thinking practitioners mitigate it with a scrutinizing technique called Negative Branch Reservation.

How to spot possible Negative Branches?

The search for possible Negative Branches is part of the Future Reality Tree scrutinizing, once the FRT is built. External* scrutinizers are invited to consider each effect entity of the tree and check if another effect can arise then the expected one. This includes the Desired Effects (DE) at the top of the tree.

*not being involved in the construction of the FRT

If somewhere a Negative Branch is likely to grow, the next step is to check if the injection causing it can be replaced by another one, without the negative side effect.

Chances are that the initial injection must be kept as no better alternative is found. In this case, the Negative Branch has to be trimmed.

How to trim Negative Branches?

In order to neutralize the UDE brought up by the Negative Branch, go back to the Branch’s origin and surface the underlying assumptions, using the if…then…because following the arrow from the injection that caused the Negative Branch to grow.

Look for a possible injection to neutralize or minimize the UDE. If none can be found at that spot, move upwards the Negative Branch and repeat the process. At some point an injection will “cure” the UDE.

As the cure for the Negative Branch’s UDE is an injection, this too must be checked for possible new side effects with negative outcome.

The robustness of the Future Reality Tree, and every tree in the Logical Thinking Process, is guaranteed by thorough scrutinizing.

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3 thoughts on “What is Negative Branch Reservation?

  1. Pingback: What is Negative Branch Reservation? | Chris Ho...

    • The NBR is used for Future Reality Trees only. It is a way to simulate the effects of the intended injections and probe the system before putting them in place.
      The Prerequisite Tree takes care of obstacles when implementing.
      Hope this helps.


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