Monday, February 13, 2012
We typically think of planning as a way of organizing activity. What needs to precede what? What are all the components involved?
But there's another reason to plan. It's a way of discovering what you don't understand. And that's discovered in two ways. The first way, planning may make you confront the fact that there are gaps in your understanding as you attempt to construct the plan. You find this out when you find that there are parts of the plan that you can't articulate. The gaps.
The second way that planning helps you discover what you don't understand doesn't happen during planning. It happens while executing the plan. The plan embodies your understanding of the situation you are planning for. It holds your expectations. When, during execution, you find that the plan is inadequate, aha!, you've discovered a flaw in your understanding. And that's good! Discovering a flaw in your understanding identifies an opportunity to learn and thus an opportunity to improve.
For this reason, it is beneficial to plan not just often-repeated processes but one-of-a-kind activities too. The plan articulates your understanding. Inadequacies in the plan indicate the need for learning. Learning leads to better understanding and that leads to improvement.
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continuous improvement, planning