Suppose you have an experienced team of IT professionals that has done similar work a number of times. One could ask, “Why should time be spent planning the work? Why not get on with the work?” The project or work may be under severe time pressure. Planning time could be spent in work time.
The same could be said for experienced Boy Scouts. What happens when they don’t plan? They may forget some items. They may be unprepared for a change in the weather. Some could get sidetracked. There have also been articles about hikers who became lost and suffered from exposure due to lack of planning.
Some of the potential effects of a lack of planning include the following.
• There may not be a common understanding of what work has to be
• Without planning, the team members make assumptions about how and
what to work on.
• The project leader may also assume that everyone is clear on what has
to be done.
The effect often is that some effort is wasted in duplication or in the wrong
tasks. Additional meetings may be required to clarify what the direction is
In doing reviews of IT work, we have found one useful technique is to ask
individual team members what they are working on, the direction of the work, and what others are doing in the effort. This can be a real eye opener. In one case, each of fi ve people had a very different perception of the work.
Actions and Prevention
If you fi nd there was a lack of planning, then you should conduct a review
meeting to cover the direction of the work. For prevention, you want to conduct a brief structured planning session. Topics that should be covered include the following:
• Major milestones for the work
• How the work will be done
• How people will interface with each other
• Potential issues and problems
For new work, discuss both the business and technical aspects of the future
work. Also, have the team members identify potential issues in the work based on their own experience.