Plans are recipes for the future. I face some challenging tasks in the line of duty. Installing a network from scratch requires a series of steps to happen in order over many days. Wires need to be run, parts ordered, tradesmen coordinated, servers configured and everything tested. Running the wires is a feat itself in a large factory. With so many variables, how can it all come together and avoid Murphy’s law?
The end product is so simple and easy that we forget it is made of thousands of small steps – the Whole made greater by the sum of its parts. Managing a project is running a race in an obstacle course. There are many problems you will face. Endurance is rewarded. Practice pays off. A plan is your road map and guidebook. Now, I don’t mean “plans” in the general or abstract sense – “Oh yeah, I have plans.” I mean documents: proposals, wire frames, diagrams, blueprints and notes. Your plans could be on stone tablets and it would be better than keeping everything in your head.
My dad was a carpenter and would often let me observe while he was on the job. When he would get stuck on a problem, he’d reach for a scrap piece of wood and pencil out the dimensions of the parts. We’d often end up at the hardware store – walking around with this scrap of 2X4 like it was a cuneiform tablet.
Picasso painted. Einstein took notes on his thinking. Remember that the medium is part of the message. No plan will ever be complete and nothing will ever go as planned. But do not let that discourage you from documenting the plan and making adjustments as you go along. In silicon valley, this is called “iterative development”. The best products go through many iterations and changes. Having a plan that’s accessible to the people who need to know fosters collaboration and allows you to respond quickly to crisis. (It also makes a nice template for future plans.)
“Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance” ~ John Brouwer