In my current “day job” I’m a systems engineer helping my customers get stuff done. Before that, I led and managed software projects. In both these roles I was, and still am, amazed at the number of times people fail to plan for success!
We often spend a huge amount of effort planning for failure. Everyone talks about risk management, contingency plans and imagines all the ways things could go wrong. Documents are written, presentations made, time and money set aside. Now all of those are good things—not many projects I’ve ever been involved with went exactly to plan and having a “Plan B” is a very good thing.
But what baffles me is the number of times I see a huge hole in all their plans—what happens when it’s successful?
- When the project is complete, what’s the next step?
- How will that next step get done?
- Who does it?
- What resources will they need and will they have them?
All too often I find customers and fellow managers so focused on preventing short-term failure that they almost completely overlook the need to plan for long-term success!
And that could ultimately be the one failure mode that can “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”