To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.
− Leonard Bernstein
The notion that planning is a waste is common in domains where mission critical, high risk - high reward, must work, type projects do not exist.
Notice the Plan and the Planned delivery date. The notion that deadlines are somehow evil, goes along with the lack on understanding that business needs a set of capabilities to be in place on a date in order to start booking the value in the general ledger.
Plans are strategies. Strategies are a hypothesis. The Hypothesis is tested with experiments. Experiments show from actual data what the outcome is of the work. These outcomes are used as feedback to take corrective actions at the strategic and tactical level of the project.
This is called Closed Loop Control. Set the strategy, define the units of measure for the desired outcome - Measures of Effectiveness and Measures of Performance. Perform work as assess these measures. Determine the variance between the planned outcomes and the needed outcomes. Take corrective action by adjusting the plan to keep the project moving toward the strategic goals. For Closed Loop Control, we need
- A steering target for some future state.
- A measure of the current state.
- The variance between current and future.
- Corrective actions to put the project back on track toward the desired state.