NOEL DE MARTIN

Rigid-Flexible Planning

I have always been a fan of planning everything. Over the years I've come to create a methodology which I call “Rigid-Flexible Planning”. More than a methodology, it's a philosophy with guidelines. So please, take this post as food for thought more than strict rules.

Why plan everything?

When you read “plan everything” you might think I am crazy and my life is dull and predictable. You'd be wrong (maybe not so much about the crazy part). When I say that I plan everything, I mean that I try to be aware of where all my work is headed, which is the goal I am aiming for and which is the estimated effort. Just because the alternative is ignorance.

A plan may fail, it may be delayed, it may be underestimated, etc. But any of those is better than no plan at all, because all of those scenarios provide awareness, lack of planning does not.

And of course, we are humans. So we need mental bandwidth and freedom to perform correctly. Here, the rigurosity or looseness of your planning comes into place. Don't let the plan get in your way, let it be your tool.

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail

-- Benjamin Franklin

So now, which are the basic concepts for this? In my opinion, a planning should have two core properties: Rigidity and Flexibility (You think these are contradictory? Keep reading).

Rigidity

The rigidity is essential in anything that must give us trusted and solid information. For something to be congruent, rules have to be applied. And this is what I mean, all the rigidity to always know with certainty what you have in your hands:

Flexibility

The flexibility is important for not letting the planning get in our way. If we want our planning to really help us, we need to be aware that life gets in the way, and plans are ever-changing.

The challenge

The challenge then given this ideas, is to create a workflow which allows for this properties and doesn't make us crazy about it. Complex yet simple.

How would you do it?