What is planning?
- Anticipate problems, roadblocks and threats and plan accordingly
- Develop practises and procedures to get things done the most efficient way
- Spend time on what’s important directing attention to critical and putting trivial aside
- Involve the appropriate people at the right time and keep them informed about relevant issues, progress and changes
- Recognize and take corrective actions when facing undesirable outcomes
To improve your planning skills, ask yourself:
- Do I have a clear idea of the desired outcome of this project?
- When was the last time I missed a deadline due to poor planning?
- Have I created a “sabotage” list of things that could go wrong?
- Do I know what resources are available for this project/assignment?
- When was the last time I was surprised by the impact of my plan on another group?
- Am I using the available technology for planning?
- Are others surprised by how my plan is unfolding?
- How much time do I spend planning?
- Is everyone in my group working off at the same page?
- How can this problem or project be structured so multiple tasks can be done simultaneously?
Train your planning skills
- Experiment tools and techniques to organize your work and discuss the usefulness with your coworkers.
- Work closely with your manager on planning a project meeting. Get feedback on your planning and organizing skills from your manager and those people involved in the meeting. Get feedback on how you prioritize the issues.
- Identify managers who have good planning and organizational skills. Ask them about what works for them. Apply at least one of these techniques to your projects.
- Ask to be the coordinator of a special event. List all of the different parts that make up the event. Develop a plan that integrates all the pieces. Seek feedback from those involved on how well you kept people informed and coordinated the different activities.
- Once collected feedback, think about what you learned and what you would do differently in the future.
- Organize a forum during which information about your group’s mission, products, services and technology is presented to interested people from other units.
- Take a liaison role between your team and another team with whom you work, and get feedback on your effectiveness in this role.