That was all good and well for Eisenhower; he got the result he wanted. But how does it work in our domain? In our business, we have:
- One vision or narrative of "done"
- One project charter
- One baseline plan
Now, playing the options is both an art and a science. In the financial markets domain, playing options can be an exercise in prescient risk management, or just a hunch. But, the financial player has to put something down to get access to the opportunity.
In the PM domain, it's similar: we want options but not obligations. We have these option tools:
- Rolling wave planning
- Probabilitic event chains
- Iterative development and spiral methods
- Prototypes, experiments, and red/blue teams
Obviously, to act on these things, the PM has to put some resources on the line. It's about putting something down -- aka, down payment, or contingent action -- to preserve the flexibility for future actions. To read more about options and PM, click here.
Of course, Eisenhower was not the only guy making plans. He had to contend with Winston Churchill, a man said to carry about his own china shop. WSC said about plans:
"Done" is, indeed, the crux of the matter! WSC was all about the 'ends'; he was very flexible on the 'means' -- aka, options.
So whereas strategy and plans close the door on some flexibility, codifying constraints, and vectoring the project down some path, they also are the set-up for 'done'. The "done" thing is pretty important; in the end, it's the only thing that will be remembered and the only thing with lasting business value.
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