The Importance of Planning

The very first day of 2010 and of a new decade!! Wishing you an amazing, loving, successful and unforgettable year!!

nemoDuring the past holidays I was staying with a friend of mine who has a six year old. Of course, we ended up watching a lot of children’s movies. One of them was Nemo which, as a scuba diver, I love. As with many children’s movies there are often many lessons to be learned for adults. The ending of Nemo reminded me of how important it is to visualize your plan all the way through the end to make sure the outcome is what you intend it to be.

For those who do not know the movie, let me explain the scene. There are several aquarium fish who are planning their escape. They have tried this before and failed. The last plan is to break the aquarium filter so the aquarium will get filthy and the owner will have to take the fish out to clean the aquarium. When the owner takes the fish out of the aquarium he puts them in individual plastic bags. The escape plan is to move the plastic bags to the window, fall down to the street below, cross the street and escape into the ocean across the street.

This of course it is a risky plan with many potential dangers along the way. When I heard the plan I thought “and then?”. The final scene of the movie after the credits shows the fish escape. Remarkable they all manage to get to the ocean where they end up floating in their separate plastic bags because they didn’t think through the full plan. They managed to do the impossible and still fail.

It is given that we can never think through all possible scenarios that might happen. We should, however, visualize the most likely outcomes all the way to the end especially “what if we are successful?”. We are so programmed to think about all the risks and the “what if things go bad” scenarios we forget to plan for success.

So here we are at the start of 2010, planning the coming year and years ahead. I discussed on Wednesday to think through risks and dare to take risks. Now on this very first day of 2010 go ahead plan ahead, visualize the end result and do not forget to plan for success!!!

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2 thoughts on “The Importance of Planning”

  1. Great post Nathalie. It reminds me of a project that is completed on time, on budget and to specs only to not be adopted by the end user due to poor change management. Some would say it was a successful project because the triple constraints were met. I’d say bull$#!£ to that! It’s our job to deliver value, not potential value.

    Josh Nankivel
    WBS Training Instructor

  2. You have a very good point on the second from the last paragraph. If we focus most of our efforts on averting a negative outcome, very little effort will be left for planning a successful outcome. Given this, it is imperative that we channel focus towards a favourable outcome whilst remaining cognizant of potential risks that may come our way. I guess it is a matter of balance—project managers need not be too paranoid, and they need to keep their eyes and ears open at the same time.

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