Even the best laid plans will change

Do you plan or fly by the seat of your pants? What happens when the plans go wrong? Are you prepared for the unexpected?


“plans are useless but planning is indispensable” said, Dwight D. Eisenhower when talking about planning for battle. And Helmuth Von Moltke said “No plan survives contact with the enemy”.

Now not every plan is preparing for war, and I certainly don’t think of everyone as the enemy. However, the sentiment of these quotes is about the balance of planning and thinking on your feet – or improvising.

I first really learned this lesson whilst walking from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail – a National Scenic Trail in the US. After a few days I met up with a nice group of other solo hikers and we hiked together for almost 2000 of the 2654 mile trail. Each day plans were discussed, debated and defined with some good amount of data, maps and opinions. What really happened was always a variation of that plan based on the actual situation, flow of the stream, beauty of the lake, view of the valley, or difficulty of the climb.

This is true with prototyping – the idea is to have a rough idea of the goal, and then to see it when you get there. You can’t plan away the work of building or doing.

Once you start building , new ideas will come to you. You need to adapt to what is, not what you thought it would be.

What have you been planning that you need to get into action? Start on it today, let it be an imperfect version and see what you learn by doing.

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