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Ag: Iterations amplify Intentions

kallmanation profile image Nathan Kallman ・2 min read

Iteration

The habit of adjusting plans in discrete increments to adapt to new knowledge gained from previously attempting to execute a plan.

Intention

The detailed plan(s) to accomplish a goal or milestone.

Iterations amplify Intentions

Improved plans results in additive gains.

Continually iterating results in multiplicative gains.

Examples

BigCorp

Everything must be planned. If it is not in the plan it must not be done. The Plan stands as the oracle of what must be done.

One must never disrespect The Plan by attempting to change it.

Of course, this means if the plan turned out to not meet customer needs at the end they're stuck with it. The project was just not planned well enough and better (and longer) planning processes must be put in place for future projects.

SmallCorp

SmallCorp is Agile™! Never would they waste time planning anything.

Of course, this does mean that sometimes they thrash back and forth constantly changing their minds on how to accomplish something.

And on occasion problems arise late in development that cost a lot to rework in large areas to fix.

But at least they are not stuck in stupid planning meetings!

SilverCorp

SilverCorp heard Benjamin Franklin when he said "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail"; but they also understand the paraphrased Helmuth von Moltke saying "No plan survives contact with the enemy".

SilverCorp spends a moderate amount of time planning, especially when setting major goals and objectives. Their goal is to plan enough to foresee problems before they become expensive to resolve, without wasting time outlining specifics they know will only change as work commences.

When they do not have enough knowledge to adequately plan, they prefer to invest a small amount into experiments that will be both easy to discard if failed and easy to upgrade into professional work when showing promise.

At the end of a cycle, SilverCorp stops and examines how their current work contributes to their overall success and how it could be improved, planning again for another cycle of execution; repeating this process ad nauseam to gain ground quickly and efficiently.

Take-aways

Aim for a "goldilocks" zone where planning takes enough detail to catch issues as early as possible without too many details that will be quickly thrown away after reality sets in.

Planning, by its nature, takes place at the beginning of the project when the least amount of knowledge is known. Even the best plan for a large project will be beaten by breaking at the halfway point to re-plan in a cycle of plan, execute, plan, execute; because the latter will benefit from the knowledge of half of the execution for half of its planning.

So:

  1. Plan, but with increasingly less detail for the later items
  2. Regularly stop executing and plan again with the knowledge gained

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