On Planning

Planning is necessary. That way you have a clear idea of the what, when, where, how, etc.; you have a goal and you have mapped out a route to get there. But is rigidity the answer? What about spontaneity and improvisation? What if something comes up?

It is for such cases that proper planning follows a good research. With good research and preparation, you can predict with some level of certainty what is likely to happen as a result of something and plan according to that. But there it is – “predict with some level of certainty”. You cannot say for certain what is going to happen. The better the prediction, the better is the chance of it being true, but a prediction with a 100% chance of being accurate is quite rare.

So you go with improvisation. But that cannot be done, if all you have been working on is a rigid plan and how to follow it as neatly as possible. Moreover, you cannot go far and at reasonable pace if you do not have a map to follow and all you do is improvise. It can also lead to confusion and lack of coordination. What is it, then?

There is a plan, and there are contingency plans. The contingency plans may or may not span the whole project. They will be connecting certain checkpoints, which may or may not coincide with the beginning or end of the project. If we connect dots with arrows to show the project plan, the dots representing events or checkpoints and the arrows representing actions to be taken, then the diagram would start from a point, expand as different actions are undertaken to carry on the project and the arrows diverge, and finally end at a point as the arrows converge and meet at the end of the project.

Now, the number of contingency plans are up to you as you see fit according to the probability of certain alternate events happening or circumstances changing. And no node or arrow are a fine line to be followed. They are for reference and the operations should be carried out within acceptable limits, a range within which, you try to keep things, giving room for improvisation as things are getting done and as something or the other comes up that needs to be dealt with; besides, rigidity can also lead to stress and/or lack of conscious thought.

What do you think?

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