Posted on: August 28, 2012

It is normal for teachers and speechers who emphasize planning techniques being challenged by some types of arguments:

– Very cool this technique, but does it work in real life?

– Interesting, but my daily routine is very busy, people ask me thing all the time, I do not have time for that.

These pearls reflect two things: planning theories err by lack of pragmatism in order to show up their subjects and professionals underestimate the value of “wasting” time planning. In both cases the views are diametrically opposed to reality.

Planning is something totally practical because it is progressive, while the actions are happening the uncertainties will decrease, the goals will be refined, and the requirements will obtain greater accuracy than in the start.

In fact the act of planning does not end when the action is completed, then this rich material can be systematized to support the record of lessons learned and help the planning a similar action. Note that plan is not necessarily just the PMBOK Planning process, in broad sense we are always planning some task or action, or at least it should be that way…

This is the ideal world of management, but let’s move to the listener’s view who hardly see the bridge across the gap between theory and practice. How could we help them? Showing up the benefits instead start to telling them how marvelous is your planning tool!

An efficient planning helps us predict risks, organize actions to mitigate their effects, get reserves, making economies of scale, allocate resources properly, to be short “lose” time on planning “save” money and time running.

Although there is no way to plan accurately, because the estimates are subject to  changes but we can get very close to reality and be prepared to avoid many problems.

The simple act of planning makes us evaluate issues as a whole and in the process we can see many variables that without this focus probably would have been ignored.

But the great point of a well planned action is the reduction or elimination of rework, a villain that affects far beyond time, cost, resources, sometimes attacking team motivation and undermining all performance.

Force the team to deal with failures and overtime is not a good idea. Every agreement implies in enough time and resources to make it work, and it’s not supposed to receive the same budget and the same time to do things again, so these matters must be taken into account when we say that there is no time to plan.

Without planning it is impossible to measure progress, evaluate forecasts, and discover the gaps that need to be addressed.

“What can’t be measured can’t be improved” ( by William Thomson), it’s all about control actions performed by evaluating the real progress (which was actually made) compared to what was planned. This variation allows us to know the progress of actions to implement corrective or preventive measures to keep the baselines of what was planned. It’s how to keep the train on the tracks.

To use a practical example think about your grocery shopping and about the wonderful economic influence of a small piece of paper

can provide. There are studies that show that when we do not plan our purchases we tend to succumb to occasional advertisements and buy luxuries rather than needs. Who never spent more money than he could or forgot something essential when went to the supermarket without the famous grocery list?

Business or home, small things or big budgets it’s all about life if truth be told. There is no happiness if we can’t enjoy the best of all these and in any case having a plan always can help a lot.

Think about it!

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1 Response to "WHY PLAN??"

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