April 15, 2007

It is important to start walking; refinement can happen during the walk.

People often get into a state of inertia trying to plan every little detail of their journey, be it the journey of life, journey of career, or journey of a business initiative, before they make a start. This delays the very start of the journey in the name of perfecting the plan of journey. But perfect plans have an uncanny tendency to go wrong. It is because there are no perfect plans. Plans are about future and future is unpredictable. Future is all about surprises on the way. Success or failure of a plan depends more on how these surprises are tackled on the way rather than how perfect and strong the initial plan was.

Nothing is perfect in this world. Perfection is chimera and an excuse for delaying things. It is more important to start the journey with a reasonable degree of planning rather than perfect planning. Improvements, refinement, and adjustments can happen on the way depending on what surprises are encountered and what kind of learning happens. Every success story is a process of incremental improvements based on continuous learning. It is important to be flexible rather than rigid. It is more important to have a willingness to learn and adapt.

It pays to keep the plans in a liquid state rather than a solid state. Liquid plans are capable of moving smoothly through any path or obstructions in the path by adapting their flow and merging with the path. On the other hand, solid plans have a tough time if the path visualized during their conception changes or throws up some nasty surprises!

2 comments

  1. Samir Kumar Mishra // April 18, 2007 at 5:27 AM  

    Mayank bhai,
    While the definition of Perfect itself abstract and it varies based on context. I guess we cannot afford not to do a quality job in the first given opportunity. I would like to quote here what my boss says always "It takes the same amount of effort to do good work, as it takes to do bad work; so might as well do quality work". But yes if I do agree that there is always an opportunity for continuous improvement. SEI CMM Level 5 is all about that.

    When rubber hits the road then only we know whether it is good for race or not. But that also calls for a good amount of lab testing and we cannot afford to have a non-tested product on the road.

  2. Mayank Krishna // April 18, 2007 at 11:51 PM  

    @Sameer: I was talking about life and business in general. These are too complex with multiple known and unknown variables. Hence, planning of life and business can't be based on formula or lab testing. The key word in life and business is "reasonable".

    Secondly, by starting to walk without perfect planning, quality need not suffer. Quality itself is a manifestation of continuous improvement based on obstacles faced and failures suffered.

    So I feel, reasonable planning is good enough to start any journey. Rest can be handled during the long course of walk :-)