Strategies, Product Road maps, Release Plans, Sprint or Iteration plans, daily plans… none of these plans really live up to most “old guard” managers and CXOs expectations. We are always confronted with the reality that we cannot predict the future and that adjusting the future to our plan might not always be wise nor possible…
This is a real problem in most companies, where the culture is based on synchronising activities well in advance, most of the time in an objective to obtimise people productivity, and where functional and managerial sillos have been built through years of in-house personal competition.
Plans have no value as such, they are a way to communicate an intention, rather than a way to seal a contract with our stakeholders and the rest of the organisation.
Planning hurts: it takes time, consumes valuable “resources” time, forces us to recognise when we don’t know or can’t control something. Planning is also a great mechanism to review what has already been achieved, what is not relevant anymore, what priorities have changed, takes into account the things we didn’t know yesterday, people wise, technology wise, competition wise… it hurts and yet, let’s do more of it because the plan is nothing, planning is everything.
The process of forming and agreeing a plan is much more interesting than the plan it produces. The ability of a team or company to repeat and refine that process of planning between execution cycles is essentially what will give them some form of agility.