How NOT 2 plan a project. A cunning plan?

What is it we have against putting a plan together? Why does thinking something through seem to be so dimly viewed?

Elderly unhappy pensive businessman or teacher on laptopLeadership? – “I didn’t get where I am today by thinking about things”. Often the people I meet in Middle Earth (somewhere between first day newbies and the Chief Exec) are perfectly able and willing to put a good plan together. It appears however they are neither expected nor encouraged to do so by the chiefs.

Is it that people who rise to the top of organisations are also the sorts of people who don’t like planning? More entrepreneurial, impulsive, task rather than strategy directed. You know, the JFDI types? (That’s a rude thing, not a Myers Briggs profile…if you’re easily offended use the word “flippin’” for the F…if you’re still confused drop us an email and we’ll whisper it to you.)

Collaboration – this is a big deal in the HowNOT2 culture. Too many “plans” tend to be variously elaborated series’ of guesses perpetrated by one individual and foisted upon a group of unsuspecting “doers”. We suspect this may not be the best way to release the energy, potential and talent of those around us.

“Hammer-time” (90s reference). It means many planners don’t have knowledge of a decent toolkit of planning methods. We then make the mistake of using the only tool we know, pretty standard meeting formats, to try and move thinking forward. Often these meetings are considered aimless, pointless, result-less.

So, maybe the start of our “HowNOT2” project planning recipe would look like this:

  • Ask your boss for permission to run a planning workshop and get refused (no time for that sort of thing)
  • Ask for training in planning tools and, of course, receive a vague “promise” of training next year when things are a bit steadier (for the fifteenth year in a row)
  • Sit on own in a dark room guessing what needs to be done for the project and tying it into a Gantt chart
  • Emailing the plan to unsuspecting team members who delete it on sight.


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