Exercise № 1

your planning!

Exercise! Why?

Because it’s worth it!


What is OPTANO?

The Facts

Set the focus and take a picture!

You may regard complexity as an opponent of planning – but that would be a great shame! Our campaign for more decisiveness proves that smart planning actually embraces complexity.

In our 10 exercises you will discover just how much fun it can be to find an elegant solution to problems involved in business decisions. Even when business is changing rapidly.

Our units give you food for thought, invite you to discuss and play along. That’s how it should be because the need for sound decisions and trained decision-makers is immense!

Unit 1

Mastering your planning means embracing complexity. Are you interested in a change of perspective?

Go to unit

Unit 2

Do you want to plan yourself or have something planned for you? How you can lessen the burden yet still hold all the cards.

Go to unit

Unit 3

Evolution and/or revolution? Ideas on how to get your project off to a good start.

Go to unit

Unit 4

Filtering the important from the unimportant? Does that work with complexity? You bet it does!

Go to unit

Unit 1

Unit 1:
Embracing complexity

Understanding planning,
learning to love complexity

Training goal

Changing the perspective!

 There comes a point when complexity in business planning processes can neither be avoided, delegated nor simplified. This is where our first exercise comes in: Change your perspective! Acknowledge that complexity is always there. It is constant and you should welcome it as a challenge. The more intelligently you manage it, the more fun you will have with it and the more evident the brilliance of your solution will be.

Just because procedures are complex doesn’t mean that their solution has to be complicated. OPTANO, with its OR-based solutions, has decided to work with complexity, not against it. Work with it, get a feel for it, and your planning will lead to more decisiveness.

Complexity cases

The human mind is based on a trial and error concept. People make their decisions based on the experiences they have made. This creates domain knowledge and thus dependency on others. Here, OPTANO poses the question: How can technology lessen or head off the far-reaching impact of “trial and error”?

Complexity arises due to a web of connections and, at times, very different relations and mutual dependencies. Trying to put all these into one distinct image is an insurmountable task. OPTANO asks whether and how we can consider interdependencies without putting a strain on the planning level.

Humans are not able to process and handle a lot of very diverse information all at once and produce satisfactory results. This has been proven often enough. Complexity involves a number of decisions which a person cannot possibly assess at the same time. OPTANO calculates simultaneously and finds elegant mathematical solutions which extend your range of decisions.

If a perfect system exists, then only in a perfect world. That would be a pity as it would mean that the world wouldn’t change anymore. Spot the error! OPTANO challenges the lack of dynamics in so-called perfect systems and finds adaptable solutions, which are almost perfect, regarding the task to be solved.


“Just because procedures are complex doesn’t mean that their solution has to be complicated”


Discuss your most complex challenge with others!

Discover the joy of complexity and share it with others. Which planning challenges have you faced? What was your most fascinating optimization project? Have you worked with OR technology before?

We want to discuss this with you in our social media channels. We want to know your opinion – and so do others!

Unit 2

Unit 2:

Do you want to plan yourself?
Or do you want to have something planned for you?

Training goal

Be self-sufficient!

Which is why, in our second unit, we ask: Do you still want to perform optimized-based planning yourself or are you thinking of outsourcing it? The more decisions other people make for you, the more dependent you will become.  Even though outsourcing means that you are unburdening your own system, bear in mind that you are also increasing your dependency on external providers.

In an agile process you benefit from a unique OR tool which belongs on your premises, translates your requirements into reasonable/understandable calculations while it provides capacity for new tasks at the same time. That means that the best of all the possible preliminary decisions are placed in your hands. Assessments and strategic considerations are – and will be – your own decisions, but they are faster, more elegant and more effective.


»The more decisions other people make for you, the more dependent you will become. Independence and decisiveness go hand in hand.«


For us, mathematics is a means to an end. We conceal the actual calculation and display the analysis in a graphically clear and concise form.

Unit 3

Unit 3:
Paving the way for change


Training goal

Make a start!

A pinhole camera or a smartphone camera – the difference between the two has been distinctly marked by the developmental leaps from one technology to the other. How abrupt or gradual such a development phase can be, depends on whether it is an evolutionary or revolutionary process.  Are there any cultural, economic or technical drivers which trigger this developmental leap?

This analogy brings us to the following question in unit 3: which changes in your company are the driving forces that trigger inspiration in your OR project? What are the technical basis and data quality like? Are there barriers to be overcome? Is transparent planning a common goal? Is your team ready for the next developmental leap?

As long as you make a start, the second step can also be the first. The amazing thing about an OPTANO project is that you can start at any time and your initial objective can be whatever you want it to be. And just in case we forgot to mention – all you need to do is contact us.


»As long as you make a start, the second step can also be the first.«


How (r)evolutionary
is a camera?

A short digression full of correct points in time

The cine camera (1) renders the glass plate (0) obsolete and photography becomes mobile. With the single-lens reflex camera (2) the perspective is clear, the result can be anticipated in the viewfinder. As this technology is supported by electronics, the camera becomes highly reactive. Thanks to its automatic focus (3) of refined lens technology and light exposure options, it (the camera) assumes the role of a second pair of eyes. In turn, the digital camera (4) frees the process from the use of films and thus from exposure to chemicals and downstream production processes in order to put the photo on paper. Now everything becomes smaller, more compact and faster. In the smartphone (5), photography gradually merges with communication, not least by extending the motion picture (6), the scanner function with photo recognition (7), its deployment in Augmented Reality (8), the connection to modern methods of communication and image interpretation (9). Seeing blends with thinking. If we bring drone technology (10) into the equation, then camera technology has reached its next evolutionary step.


for beginners

Quite simply because it’s good for you: Optimize your water intake! How do you go about it? Build it up gradually or down 3 liters in one? Do you put a bottle on your desk at work, next to your bed or on the dining table? Do you write short reminders on post-its or put a reminder in your electronic calendar? Do you download an app?

What else do you need to do to pursue your goal?

Unit 4

Unit 4:

Filtering the important
from the unimportant.

Training goal

Challenging productively!

What is more important? The screws that hold the camera together or the lens that actually enables the camera to function at all? Even if the answer appears to be evident, very different results can come together depending on the problem, the role, the task and the goal.

Here in unit 4 we will discuss a core aspect of the agile working methods in OR projects: Regular challenging belongs to critical self-distance, the strength of agile systems. Failing to challenge current and target values prevents an adaptive system from developing.

Within the transparency of a complex process which lies in individual pieces before you, the team decides which ones are important and which ones we can do without. It is only when we see these pieces joined together that we can detect the weak points and see what we can dispense with. The problem becomes smaller and can be customized.

An important message can be taken from our first exercise: the agile procedure is ideal for complex tasks because it filters the important from the unimportant. OPTANO has worked agilely from the first hour of its existence because we are convinced this is the right way to go.


»Regular challenging belongs to critical self-distance, the strength of agile systems. Failing to challenge current and target values prevents an adaptive system from developing.«


Manifesto for agile
software­ development

We are finding better ways to develop software by doing it ourselves and helping others to do it. Because of this we have learned to appreciate the following values:

more individuals and interaction rather than processes and tools
→ than more efficient software rather detailed documentation
→ more cooperation with the client rather than contract negotiations
more reaction to change rather than compliance with a plan

This means that, although we think the values on the right are important, we value those on the left even more.

Kent Beck • Mike Beedle • Arie van Bennekum • Alistair Cockburn • Ward Cunningham • Martin Fowler • James Grenning • Jim Highsmith • Andrew Hunt • Ron Jeffries • Jon Kern • Brian Marick • Robert C. Martin • Steve Mellor • Ken Schwaber • Jeff Sutherland • Dave Thomas

Source: http://agilemanifesto.org/iso/de/manifesto.html


belongs on the list!

As a warm-up exercise, compile a list of your daily tasks and experiences. Sort them out starting with the most important and ending with the least important.

In step 2 repeat the procedure for your company or department. Interesting, isn’t it? Basically, you have just run through a warm-up exercise from our project initiation workshop.

Would you be interested in attending one of our workshops? Then call or e-mail us for more info. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Homework № 1

The Sisyphus Challenge

Show original image


Terms and Conditions of Participation

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Homework № 1: How many parts are in the image?

Finally! Homework that you actually enjoy doing! As mathematicians and software engineers, we love solving puzzles. This is why we would like you to solve a little brain teaser at the end of each exercise.

Guess how many individual parts are in the original photo.

Tip: cabel connected parts also count as an individual part (And here’s another small task: Did you count the parts? How long did it take you and how did you go about it?).

Send us the right answer using the contact link below. Please include your first and surname as well as your address and telephone number.

Send your answer


1st Prize:

A photoshoot styled on our campaign

If your name is drawn, you will have the opportunity to choose a theme of your choice for your personal photoshoot. It can be your hobby, a business issue, whatever you want. The only condition is that it is complex enough and fits on a 1x1m table. The photoshoot will take place in Bielefeld, Germany. Travel expenses within Germany as well as an overnight stay in a hotel are included in the prize.

2nd – 5th Prizes:

A hardback edition of  »Things Come Apart.« by McLellan

6th – 10th Prizes:

Game »Die Kunst Aufzuräumen«

Legal Notice:

Dissembled objects will not be reassembled. Further technical agreements concerning the photoshoot will be clarified with you in advance. The photo shoot will take place in Bielefeld. The winner and OPTANO will be assigned the rights to the finished product once the negatives have been handed over.

Legal Announcement

Conditions of Participation

This competition isn’t just for glory and prestige! Our first prize is a photoshoot in the style of our campaign. Conditions: You correctly answer all 10 of our fairly mind-boggling questions in our Exercise! Campaign. You can follow our campaign in our newsletter which you will receive as soon as a new exercise is online.

The competition closes in herbst 2020.

Show Terms and Conditions

Your answer

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