Once you’ve observed, oriented, and decided, it’s time to act. This might seem like a minor concept, but it’s actually really, really hard to act in a lot of situations. There are two elements here — the first is our willing suspension of belief, and the second is the doubt storm. Let’s talk about these two.
The willing suspension of belief. To find an example here, I’m going to fall back on my training in self defense. When you first find yourself in any situation that is “bad,” your first line of thought is going to be “this isn’t really happening,” or “why would this person want to hurt me?” In the same way, when your network is failing or under attack, the easiest thing in the world is to disregard the loop, roll over, and go back to sleep. Why would anyone attack my network? Why would this bug be hitting my control plane? Like Scrooge faced with a ghost, we say, “there’s more gravy than grave about you.” And this is a grave mistake. There’s a reason you’ve gone through all the trouble of thinking through what you’re going to observe, how you’re going to orient, and then thinking through what you’re going to decide.
So you can act when you need to.
You see, we’re all humans, and we all get trapped in the moment of conflicting emotions, the moment of high pressure and high adrenaline. It’s precisely at this moment that you don’t want to be deciding what to do, and deciding to do it. If you’re here, someone, or something, has gotten inside your loop, and you’re about to fail.
“What if I do this and it shuts down the CEO’s phone call?”
“What if I don’t, and the entire network fails?”
“What should I do?”
“WHAT SHOULD I DO?”
If you’ve followed the loop, and you’ve planned ahead, follow the plan. It’s that simple — just do it. Hone your skills, know your network, know your monitoring points, know what you’re looking at, know your plan, and do it.
A lot simpler said than done, I know. But the entire point here is to plan when you have time so you don’t have to fall to the doubt storm when you don’t have time to plan. The point is to work off what you know, rather than what you feel at that one moment. There is a metaphysical relationship of faith to reason here, as well — but don’t get me started on philosophy, or we’ll be here forever. 🙂
The bottom line is — make your plan, and then trust your plan.
Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.
And that’s a wrap. Or should we say a loop?
The OODA loop is covered in some detail in The Art of Network Architecture, available wherever fine books are sold (because if they don’t sell my books, then they don’t sell fine books — see how that works?).