Have you ever heard the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”?
How true is that?
Have you ever tried so hard to plan on something; as simple as a short vacation trip but end up being even more frustrated when things don’t go as planned?
What if I said that it is only natural that all these are part of the process. That how you react to these circumstances is what principle you held on yourself?
The main reason why people failed at planning was that they have forgotten the core objective of why they started it in the first place.
You can complain, begrudge, blame on anything, and anyone of that matters, but the world is always full of surprises that nobody is exempted from surprises that circumstances would throw at you.
A worthwhile trip
I had the experience of planning and improvising on my vacation trip recently. Do notice I did not use the word failure because I believed in achieving what I planned for – to enjoy the journey no matter what happens.
I was going to Tokyo, Japan, and it was a long week planning where I had reserved the hotel months earlier (Booking your hospitality in advance can save you a lot), bought passes for transportation, noted down all the places to visit, researching, etc.
When I finally made a full 2 weeks itinerary, it feels good. Everything seems to be perfect. If it all goes as planned, I’ll be a happy and proud guy of who I am. It didn’t happen.
When I reached Tokyo, the weather forecast has suddenly changed. What was forecasted to be a sunny day a week ago turned out to be a rainy day. On top of that, because it was a long holiday for Japan, I wasted a lot of time in the traffic when I was on my way to Mt.Fuji.
My so-called “plan” has to alter multiple times to fit the main program delayed by the unforeseen weather condition. At worse, we skipped some places due to time constraint.
The Iteration of Planning
Does it sound familiar with your workplace? The part where your project scope does not go as planned, and you have to re-plan, make changes, crash your project schedule? This is all part of the process.
It is imperative to why we need to have a scope baseline, be it working on a project or planning a trip. These baselines will keep us on track regardless of how circumstances change.
I was able to enjoy my trip, even though the weather does not favor me. So, I did I do it?
I followed my baseline. The main objective that kept me focused when I am swayed away by external conditions; which is to enjoy the overall process.
Changing the schedule, walking under the rain is all part of the process. How I deal with it by referring to my tolerance threshold is what make it throughout the journey.
Similarly, how do we deal with projects that kept changing? Not when we did not inform our stakeholders about the consequences of frequent changes; to control the entire process up front before corrective measures are needed.
We must control the process, which is also why the scope baseline is essential. It is part of the management plan that guides the project manager to achieve its targeted deliverables.
If change is needed, it will be evaluated first before allowing it to take place. Similar to my trip, when there are any changes on the itinerary, I would assess the monetary, schedule, and other impacts before deciding whether to cut off a certain program.
Start Planning Ahead
Failure in planning often derives from human factor more than those of external causes. We are the ones who make expert judgments that resiliently achieving our objective.
Starting with the end in your mind and anticipated anything that could happen in between, you will be more prepared for new surprises that could very well be a good knowledge into your depository.