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Planning to learn

We are living in the age of disruption, where the only constant is change. Yet all of the tools we’ve been given over the years tell us to plan. Measure twice, cut once, says the proverb.

The question I find a lot of IT teams struggling with is, how do we plan for disruption? How do we take the time to lay down an adequate blueprint without falling victim to the speed of change?

Planning for change

Surviving today’s disruptive IT climate requires a fine balance between preparedness and adaptability. It means changing our understanding of planning from devising a perfect, paint-by-numbers scenario to preparing ourselves for a variety of potential outcomes. In other words, planning to learn along the way.

With the velocity of change ever increasing, it’s clear that every IT team needs the ability to be more dynamic during delivery. It’s important to have a plan that enables you to learn and adapt mid-execution.

Undertaking a thorough, up-front risk assessment – including proof-of-concept and what-if-scenario mitigation planning – will help you plan to address risk areas early in the project. This kind of pre-emptive work helps to provide clarity around project unknowns and to prepare you for course corrections with as little wasted effort as possible.

To prevent lag, your team can rely on long-term, high-level plans. It’s okay to defer detailed planning until you’re getting ready to execute each project phase. At that time, make sure you have enough information to ensure that your detailed planning only needs to happen once.

By planning to learn, you stay focused on the risk-based, critical path to achieving project outcomes. Implementing and following a high-level delivery roadmap with clear parameters for success provides your team the flexibility to pursue unforeseen opportunities and respond quickly to delivery threats, while staying focused on delivering the desired value.

Learning to adapt

Remember, foregoing planning isn’t a solution to disruption. Thoughtful planning still drives success. But the way in which you approach your planning and use your plans to guide execution can be adapted to help protect against disruption. Tracking and measuring progress so you can learn and adjust plans as you go is key to ensuring successful delivery.

Today’s IT leaders need to be adaptable and well-informed from diverse sources so that they can adjust quickly. They need to be empowered to make delivery decisions that not only retain, but also enhance the value of a project. And they need the confidence to take intelligent risks, fail quickly and apply their learning to new initiatives that create greater overall value for their teams and their business.

Perhaps we should reword the proverb as, Measure often, learn and adapt– a guide that would better serve today’s IT teams trying to deliver enhanced value in this fast-paced, change-driven world.

How cShell can help

Let our experienced team guide you through the planning process for one of your high-risk projects. We can help you set a clear, tangible, risk-based plan with well-defined guide posts that will help your execution team deliver through the unknowns. We will show you how to measure results throughout delivery and adapt as necessary.

Give your team new tools to succeed in the face of disruption and rapid change. Learn how cShell can help your team plan to learn.

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