I’ve lost count of the number of folks I’ve encountered that see planning as sacrosanct, as gospel. I’ve also lost count of the number of occasions I’ve attempted to broach the subject with offers of e.g. dialogue and mutual exploration, only to be stonewalled.

In support of #NoPlanning, I offer the follow Ackoff quote:

“If you have the capacity for response to the unexpected, then you don’t have to plan for it. The important thing to do then is to continuously increase the capacity to respond to whatever occurs in the future.”

~ Russell Ackoff

I posit that #NoPlanning is the epitome of business agility.

Would you be willing to talk about it?

– Bob

  1. If you’re not planning, how do you decide what to do?


  2. Henri van der Horst said:

    There is a very distinct difference between planning and making plans. The former is about anticipating what the future brings. The latter typically results in trying change today’s weather to be like yesterday’s weather forecast. To quote Eisenhower: In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.

    To me the total absence of planning feels more like the Adhoc mindset of just doing what seems best at the moment. Perhaps the absence of planning also works in a chaordic organization, sadly I have never seen one from the inside. Agile, however, is for the synergistic organisations that aren’t quite there yet.

    In an empirical, agile setting, experiments are run based on an evolving hypothesis. Before running an experiment some preparation is required though. You need a controlled environment, the experiment itself, resources, metrics and the expected outcome. This preparation requires at least a basic planning and, up to a level, IS the planning. Preparation needed tends to increase disproportionally as the experiment becomes larger.

    Planning is waste (no value is added to the product) and we should reduce it to a bare minimum. Some waste cannot be reduced further though, or at least not for a price that is worth the savings. The key to minimalistic planning is a combination of small batch size and just-in-time preparation.

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