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Unconstrained Thinking
-- If You Fail to Plan . . .

"If you fail to plan, you can plan to fail," says I.

"We don't have time to plan, we have to get started," says he.

"Started on what?" says I.

"Started on the work," says he.

"Which work?" says I.

"There's a whole bunch of stuff we know we have to do," says he.

"But with your lean and mean organization, you have more work than resources. Which stuff should they work on today?" says I.

"That's OK. It all has to get done. Start whatever we can," says he.

"But isn't there some stuff that can't be finished without other stuff," says I.

"That's OK, it can still get started. If not, people will be sitting idle. Can't have that," says he.

"But it'll sit half-done, waiting for inputs that may not match what was done, probably leading to rework," says I.

"That's OK. We know how to be flexible. We have to be in this business," says he.

"But rework will add time and effort," says I.

"That's OK. There's always overtime if we need it," says he.

"But even with OT, with all the false starts, un-clear goals, and people jumping willy-nilly from task to task, don't you risk being late against your promises?" says I.

"That's OK. We're used to being late. That's why we always have a fallback plan to deliver less that the full original promise," says he.

"Plan?" says I. "Doh . . ." says I, Homeresquely, with the heel of my hand thumping my forehead..

Think about it . . .

Isn't managing an organization to accomplish a strategy in support of a goal something worth planning? What's your plan? What's your strategy? What's your goal?

©2002, Frank Patrick

Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something. The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. - Sir John Harvey-Jones

This is one of a series of columns on improvement, TOC, constraint management, change management, systems thinking, uncommon sense, and whatever else comes into my mind. Suggestions for topics are welcome. - FP, 908-874-8664 or via the contact page of this site.

If you are interested in using these 1/2-page columns for your APICS, ASQ, PMI, or IIE newsletter, let me know through the same channels, and I'll send you the more easily usable MS Word versions.

-- Frank Patrick

Related links:

Clear Focus Planning - A Leadership Workshop for Building Your Future - A fast and effective process to align your efforts for success.

Avoiding Disappointment in Improvement Programs - Don't do programs! Turn your management efforts into a process for aligned, on-going improvement.

Unconstrained Thinking - A Route to Roots - A short piece on getting to root causes and core problems for complex systems (aka organizations)

Small Business Strategy - Think you're too small for strategic planning and structured problem solving? Think again!

Unconstrainted Thinking - Strategy for the Masses - It's easier, and can be quicker, than you might think.

The Strategic Constraint and (local) Department Goals

TQM and Constraints

Unconstrained Thinking Index

Who is FP?
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