Planning seems to be so TabooBy
@KarenMartinOpEx, Karen Martin, author of The Outstanding Organization: Generate Business Results by Eliminating Chaos and Building the Foundation for Everyday Excellence, is my podcast guest next week and this is an excerpt from the podcast.
Joe: You bring up my next question and lead into it perfectly. Planning seems to be so taboo. Even the Lean StartupTM version of PDCA is Build, Measure, and Learn. Planning, it just seems we’re dropping the planning from the cycle. Is there still room for planning?
Karen: Oh, yes. I’m so glad you asked that question because a lot of my content got on the cutting-room floor because I had far more words than what my contract was for. One of the things I went into in detail, that got cut, was my…I don’t know…I’m frustrated with what’s going on out there around planning and there are a lot of people that are playing into it. So I touch on Gladwell’s comments about planning, and I touch on other people and their anti?planning, guys who are out there, and I think it’s just wrong, just wrong because I think what happens, and I mentioned this very quickly in the book, is that people have gotten the plan confused with the process of planning.
The criticisms I keep hearing about planning is that, “Well, the world is so fluid, and you have to be flexible and agile.” Of course you do but who said that once you get a plan in place, you may not ever, under any circumstances, deviate from it. No one said that and yet that’s how organizations have behaved. So once again, we throw the baby out with the bathwater on an extremely robust and necessary part of performing well and people say, “Ah, forget the plans. We can’t plan,” and that’s just wrong.
Joe: A well-thought-out plan is going to include the ability to adapt?
Karen: Well right. That’s what PDSA is or PDCA. It is about adapting based on current conditions. There’s a lot going on even in the Lean community that’s smelling as though people were saying, “Well, stop with your plans, stop with your to-do list, and stop with this…” I’m like, “No, no, no, no, no. Don’t stop with it but use PDCA/PDSA as it was intended,” which is being very present with what your experiment’s results are showing, alter your hypothesis, go back experiment again, and keep on adapting based on your new information.
Karen Martin (http://ksmartin.com) provides Lean transformation and business performance improvement support to industry, government, and the not-for-profit sector. Karen’s broad understanding of operations design and business management stems from her experience building the operational infrastructure for several rapid growth start-up operations that each grew into multi-billion dollar companies.
Karen appeared a few years back and discussed Holding Successful Kaizen Events. She also co-authored The Kaizen Event Planner: Achieving Rapid Improvement in Office, Service, and Technical Environments