“Every minute you spend in planning, saves 10 minutes in execution.”
– Brian Tracy
Planning helps avoid wasted time.
Anyone remember when programming projects just started by sitting down and writing code? Maybe sometimes there would be a short kickoff meeting and then we would sit down and start writing code. That didn’t work very well!
• Significant projects need significant planning.
Project management, the classic 5 phases of Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitor and Control, and Project Close. Projects, even if managed well, often fail and cause wasted time. Top two reasons, in order, are scope creep and lack of management support.
• Smaller projects need significantly less planning.
We might not even call them “projects.” Examples might include cleaning the mess of your desk or in my case the mess of my schedule. With my schedule it usually involves chasing down a handful of clients and friends to confirm and solidify dates etc. No serious “project plan” needed here!
Yes, sometimes you can “Wing It.” But only sometimes . . .
• Short Term Time Management
We must not only plan “things” but also our time.
Planning your day is critical. Otherwise you might sit and react to email all day instead of doing real work.
Many people like to use lists, and lists with 20 things on them are useless. You’ll never do them all. May I suggest a maximum of 5-6 things to do, with perhaps a side list if necessary?
• Longer range planning
Longer range time is also critical, and can range from things a few weeks out (“finish report”) to a couple years out (“write book”) to “Bucket List” items (“buy goat farm”) but that’s the topic of another article.