I sometimes cringe when I am writing about project planning and project structure. I want the world to be a place that I can spontaneously deliver project success. I want to be experimenting constantly and being spontaneous in every single response and approach.
I don’t want rules governing every single moment of my life. I want people to be able to do what they want. Tim Harford’s book Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives warns me that I shouldn’t be ‘tidy-minded.’ I should be ready to think messily and let my thinking revolutionary every moment.
Many of us think this way. We all want to be spontaneous and free all of the time. We want the freedom of the wind blowing through our hair as we speed away from the greatest victory of all time.
The Other Side
But there is the other side of being spontaneous. And that is being disciplined. You can watch basketball players make amazing and spontaneous plays, but you don’t watch the thousands of hours of routine workouts, shots taken, and laps run. You can talk about the business owner who seems to succeed in everything they do, but you don’t see how they listen to their customers, and the late nights they spend making sure that everyone is taken care of. You can see a company that is fun and spontaneous, but you don’t see the hard work it takes to release a product that you can connect to.
Spontaneous is desirable, but to be spontaneous you need to be disciplined. You must have your project plan, know what you are measuring in regards to your success. And you must be careful to control the work that is happening. This day-by-day discipline will give you the strength and endurance to be spectacularly spontaneous when you need to be.
Plans and Planning
Planning is a discipline. The spontaneity is in the execution.
You must have a plan, but once the rubber hits the road you will have to improvise as everything you planned will somehow change.
Planned and Spontaneous are opposite sides of the same coin. Enjoy the coin toss.