Tuesday, December 1, 2009

i-TFTD #232: Plan But Don't Always Stick to It

i-TFTD #232: Plan But Don't Always Stick to It

#232-1. Plans are nothing; planning is everything.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th president (1890-1969)

232-2. We cannot truly plan, because we do not understand the futurebut this is not necessarily a bad news. We could plan ! while bearing in mind such limitations. It just takes guts.
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

232-3. Enlightened trial and error outperforms the planning of flawless intellects.
-David Kelley, founder & CEO of Ideo Product Development

A powerful quote that is a favorite of mine. Making a plan is necessary for most activities in life. It induces us to gather data, think about the objectives, constraints and sequence of steps. But once we have a plan and start execution, it is vital to keep our antenna tuned for new information, changed circumstances and unexpected events that may suggest changing our plan. Rigidly adhering to what we decided based on assumptions that no longer hold true is sometimes worse than having no plan.

In the software development process, the so-called agile practices are posited on planning for changes. This appears to go against the emphasis on scope freeze that is the essence of quality processes but customer reality always overrides the idealistic models. Adaptability can be planned and nurtured.!

Taleb has expounded on this aspect from the perspective of financial markets and the (mis)use of statistical models in his books, Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan.

Innovation gurus
remind us that the nature of the creative process is messy and cannot be planned and measured in simplistic ways.

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