In times past, middle managers planned & led projects. Today, those layers of management have all but disappeared. Now, individual contributors are increasingly responsible for managing their own work within self-organizing teams (e.g., as expressed by Agile practices, such as SCRUM).
These practices have created opportunities for advancement.
How Were You Trained?
Most professionals are functionally trained (e.g., marketing, finance, IT, HR).
Which means…in the absence of proper training—they are “Accidental Planners.”
- Functional expertise does not [necessarily] mean commensurate expertise in planning & executing the same efforts (projects; product development; strategy; training; etc.) where a professional’s skills are engaged.
When asked…many functionally qualified professionals are startled to discover…a hole in their professional repertoire. They were not purposefully trained in planning, plans & effort execution.
Instead, many professionals learn on-the-job…by involvement. Which also creates an attendant problem. How did the people that are “teaching” learn? Also on-the-job…also by involvement?
- Could the fact that the generational passing-down of unproven practices and poor training explain—at least in part—why so many efforts are doomed to failure before they start?
Doing & Planning Are Not the Same Thing
Knowing “how” to functionally do something is not the same thing as planning & choosing “what” to do.
- Planning and “Doing” involve distinctively different skills, knowledge and abilities.
Augment Your “Doing”…As a Planner
Like your functional skills—your planning abilities can be developed.
As a professional in today’s always-on, 7×24, pressure-filled world…you’ll be planning & leading efforts for years to come. Which means…you’ll benefit by deliberately supplementing your functional skills, knowledge & abilities with a commensurate capability for planning, plans & effort execution.
Over the last few years, what was the nature and outcomes of the efforts where you were involved?
- Were they crisp, or chaotic? Quick, or hasty? Clear, or ambiguous?
- Did they require a minimum, or maximum, of rework?
What outcomes do you envision for your future efforts? Do you feel you were well-trained and sufficiently prepared for planning & executing them?
In the Next Post
In the next post…All Projects & Efforts are Systems—and What That Means to You.