skip to Main Content

Plan for Uncertainty

The act of continuous planning is more valuable than the plan.

Recent events remind us of how a plan can change overnight. Long-term planning is difficult, and there aren’t many long-term plans that have been in effect for more than 6 months that would have factored for the risks and impacts that are being realized today.

Plans undoubtedly serve a purpose. They give us comfort, courage, and a shared sense of direction as we begin a journey.

X marks the spot 

When a plan is approved, it represents a handshake, a vote of confidence between partners to proceed forward, with known  constraints, assumptions, risks, issues, and the acceptance of uncertainty. In theory, we may navigate forward within known constraints. We may validate assumptions. We may conduct risk analyses, create registers, draft mitigation procedures, and evaluate models to forecast potential impacts to our plan. We can plan for what we know and understand, at a given point in time. As time moves on, and we progress from one milestone to the next, the scope of uncertainty narrows. The unknown becomes known. We gain lessons learned. Uncertainties become certain. Impacts become imminent, and the plan must change.

Plotting a New Course

Change is traditionally unwelcomed. Expectations are established with the plan, and an amendment to the plan could suggest the plan may have been inadequate. Stakeholders anchored to the established plan may need to be reengaged to review, revise, and approve a new proposed plan. In far less desirable circumstances, progress may even stop, while costs continue to be incurred, and the group awaits orders to proceed. How the group responds is traditionally known as Change Management, and it is

traditionally process heavy, time consuming, and costly. According to recent survey data from the IDC, over 82% of firms experiencing problems delivering SAP projects are citing resistance to change as their leading challenge. 7 of the top 10 challenges overall relate to various elements of Change Management. So, how can we improve Change Management?

Expect Change. Welcome Change.

  • Plan continuously, and on a cadence.
  • Plan smaller by reducing the duration of long-term plans into smaller time-boxes.
  • Plan smaller by reducing the size and number of Work Items in each Product Increment.
  • Structure the Team to include authorized decision-makers or Business Owners.
  • Use Agile Tools to provide real-time visibility of project Artifacts and shifting priorities for all Stakeholders.
  • Bring your Plan to life.

If uncertainty is part of your plan, anticipating change will position your organization to respond to it more effectively. At Mindset, we help our clients to embrace changing landscapes, challenges, and opportunities with a variety of Agile adoption initiatives tailored specifically for the SAP software delivery organization. Our goal is to improve the lives of Users who rely on SAP each day, as well as the experience of the organizations delivering the solutions.

David Otto is a Sr. ScrumMaster at Mindset Consulting. Focused on the evolution and practical application of the Agile software delivery framework, David has tailored implementation and transformation initiatives for a wide variety of software development organizations, spanning the array of industry and technology, with teams distributed around the globe. As an Agile Coach, David has also contributed to the creation of multiple enterprise-wide Agile training curriculums, served as a training facilitator, and is currently responsible for the Mindset Agile Community of Practice.

Back To Top