…because some thoughts are worth remembering
I am a big advocate of having a robust plan. But in my previous blog stating so, I didn’t provide any methods to craft a robust plan. There are many elements that go into it, but here are two things you can do: one to come up with an initial robust plan, and another to improve on it, so your next plan will be more robust.
1. Pre-Mortem Meetings
Our tendency is to be relieved once we come up with an idea of what to do, and we get the managers to sign off on it. We might even have the energy to draft a general budget sheet, decide on a deadline, and jot down some milestones. But there’s a step we already missed: a pre-mortem meeting.
A pre-mortem meeting is where the key staff who will be expected to participate in the project to look into the future of the project. Because we tend to want to optimistic about the project (that’s why the idea got as far as it did in the first place), people are reluctant to see what might fail or what challenges they might encounter. In having generated many ideas for the project, it might be easy to lose sight of the original goal you wanted to accomplish and why. Here is a possible agenda for a pre-mortem meeting:
2. Post-Mortem Meetings
A post-mortem meeting is held after a project is completed to review of how it went. Despite the fact that more people know the concept of a post-mortem meeting, it is not necessarily built into the company routine, or performed effectively. Here are some key points to remember when running a post-mortem meeting.
These are simple concepts but not enough people practice it. We tend to want things to be linear, monotonic and moving forward in time. The recursive process of this planning can feel like we are wasting time or not making progress. But as the folding the molten metal again and again that forges the samurai sword stronger, it is the process of stepping back and revisiting that makes a plan more robust (as with many things, like writing).
Photo: Flowers in Stavanger, Norway