Scenario Plans (& Delphi Research)

I looked into the future, and the time to act is now.

Author: DelphiMan (Page 2 of 2)

A single round (1 round) Delphi study. How can that be?

The 2007 Lentz Dissertation by Cheryl Lentz (Dr Cheryl) was interesting in many ways. One is that it was a single round study. What she was doing was following on research that had been conducted previously. So she was able to use the prior research for the information and the factors that she would have needed to gather in round 1 of a full Delphi study. I know, I know. That’s not a Delphi study then if only 1 round. But she chose to still call it a Modified Delphi, study in large part, because of the use of experts.

She recruited HR experts to do the study. The results turned out to be a bit of a conundrum, as she discussed in her 2009 article in the Refractive Thinker. But that’s another post discussion.

There are several ways to change a Delphi study from the classical approach used by RAND back in the cold war era, and therefore to categorize it as a “modified” Delphi study. One way is to use informed people, so that you avoid having to get “experts” to participate. Plus then you would have to justify the criteria used to decide what represents and expert. Another approach is not necessarily to aim for consensus.  Most studies using Delphi don’t need full consensus; often they are aiming for best practices or the most important factors. The UCLA/Delphi approach is used to get medical experts to decide on a single best protocol for treatment (in the absence of conclusive laboratory research). In this case, they do need to aim for consensus. Without enough evidence and experience, no medical protocol should be recommended at all.

So, with all that said, do you think that Dr Lentz’s dissertation with only one round (essentially a second round) should have been categorized as a Delphi study?

A whole different question is, can a Delphi study be mixed method or quantitative? (Most people think of Delphi as Qualitative?)

Hall (2009) presents a table that summarizes the various categories between/among types of nominal studies. See the next blog post here related to the conundrum of the findings in this research study.


Hall, E. (2009). The Delphi primer: Doing real-world or academic research using a mixed-method approach. In C. A. Lentz (Ed.), The refractive thinker: Vol. 2: Research Methodology, (pp. 3-27). Las Vegas, NV: The Refractive Thinker® Press. Retrieved from:

Lentz, C. A. (2007).  Strategic decision making in organizational performance: A quantitative study of employee inclusiveness. D.M. dissertation, University of Phoenix, Arizona. Dissertations & Theses @ University of Phoenix database. (Publication No. AAT 3277192).

Lentz, C. (2009). The modified ask-the-experts Delphi method: The conundrum of human resource experts on management participation. In C. A. Lentz (Ed.), The refractive thinker: Vol. 2: Research Methodology, (pp. 51-75). Las Vegas, NV: The Refractive Thinker® Press. Retrieved from:

Delphi in the DoD Procurement Team (IPT) process

Jordan & Hall published an article in the Defense Sector edition (2016, Edition X) of the Refractive Thinker related to augmenting the DoD procurement process with Delphi team planning (Jordan & Hall, 2016). Here is the summary.

Delphi Method, or Delphi Technique, is an established method for bringing teams of informed panelists, or experts, together to analyze complex and interrelated problems. Organizations use group decision-making techniques to make sound plans, plans that gain support for the decisions made and build consensus. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) requires the use of Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) to ensure all disciplines are well represented in acquisition decisions. IPT planning process has several limitations, including the biases and inefficiencies associated with face-to-face meetings. The IPT process could be augmented to include Delphi analysis in order to develop more robust and more flexible procurement plans. Using the Delphi Method to augment IPTs could minimizing the costs and limitations of more traditional group planning while also significantly improve the quality of the procurement decisions. Delphi teams could be used with experts (or even with crowds) to provide sound analysis in many situations where the IPT process is ill equipped to produce unbiased and long-term results. Delphi teams would have the ability, as well, to look at bigger picture issues, and thereby avoid the narrow-scope, tunnel-vision analysis where most of the IPTs operate.


Jordan, E. A., & Hall, E. B. (2016). Group decision making and Integrated Product Teams: An alternative approach using Delphi.  In C. A. Lentz (Ed.), The refractive thinker: Vol. 10. Effective business strategies for the defense sector. (pp. 1-20) Las Vegas, NV: The Refractive Thinker® Press. ISBN #: 978-0-9840054-5-1. Retrieved from:

The Volume 10 book:

Delphi & Scenario Planning… Taking a closer looks at the future.

This site is devoted to Scenario Planning and looking forward types of analysis. Delphi Method/Technique is a great tool for this.

Using Delphi Method for planning… including Scenario Planning and Horizon Plans.

This site discusses and tracks the use of Delphi-type methods in doing all kinds of research: academic, theoretical and real-world. Businesses can use the Delphi method to identify key issues, develop scenario plans and/or do horizon planning.

Strategic Business Planning that use similar methods as those used by Delphi Method. A strategic planning workshop for strat plan development uses a modified SWOT planning situational analysis method, for example. But the Delphi Method works best for horizon planning, future new product planning and scenario planning. We like to integrate disaster recovery planning (business continuity planning) into the scenario planning process.

Strategic Planning company (Hall, Hinkelman and associates) have done research and publishing on scenario planning and Delphi Method research.

Find these articles/books at:

  • SBPs Storefront at LuLu Press: (Chapter 8 of the Guide 2.0 as well as the Economic Development Plan.)
  • Refractive Thinker(r) (Look for articles/chapters on Delphi research including the Delphi Primer.)


We like to look for that future deflection point were it would be clear to everyone, including the dog, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

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