Planning for Everything, Ready for Nothing

I was once asked by a Client for a list of all the unknown risks that could affect the project.

True story.

The story illustrates a belief amongst some business leaders that problems and issues are the result of poor or incomplete planning.  More planning = less problems. Everything can be foreseen.  This belief is flawed because:

  1. You cannot control all variables.
  2. The future cannot be known.

It is akin to the usual reaction when regulations fail – what is needed is more regulations rather than better monitoring and enforcement.

It happens to the best of us.

Is planning important?  Absolutely.  But so is building the capacity to react when reality rudely interrupts those plans.

And no, I will not say who it was that asked for the list.

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