The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
with Scenario Planning
Abstract: This WEBinar shows how
to prepare for the future using 3 tools: 1) Analyzing
what can and cannot be changed; 2) Noting things
essential to your future; 3) Keeping multiple
A method for people who think in a straightforward, linear,
reductionistic, and predictable manner to think backward from the future to the present. The process unearths pivotal assumptions and agendas that underlie project and business plans.
It is these "hidden" assumptions and agendas that can sometimes cause surprises translating into delays and additional costs that are
symptomatic of poor planning.
or multi-track planning relies on three (3) major tools. The three major tools of Scenario Planning include:
Tool 1: Analyzing what can and cannot be changed
Tool 2: Noticing and/or cultivating methods to notice things that may at first appear insignificant yet
can become essential to your future.
Tool 3: Keeping multiple scenarios of the future as
REAL possibilities when making your decisions on how to proceed.
One of the top five reasons projects fail
organizations fail to plan upfront. - PMI NETWORK, OCT 2006
What has to be there, Essential Requirements.
Scenario Planning techniques answer the question "What
has to be there?" What are the essential requirements?
Using Scenario Planning techniques we must learn not only how to formulate scenarios
but how to get people
(ourselves include) to accept them as real possibilities. No
more fiction. For example, Scenario Planning is extremely
useful as a tool for Use
What we find over and over again is that people fail to
think of vital requirements (or effectively problem solve)
because they can't fully place themselves in the future
For example, in our workshop, Managing Projects Well, we
present participants with a "survival" scenario and
ask them to define the principal problem to be solved. More
often than not the participants rush right past the real
problem to the symptom of the problem.
What we've found is that when we "context" paint
the "scenario" situation for them in which they find
themselves so that it is REAL, like they are really THERE, they are able to figure
out the real problem much faster. This is
the power of Scenario Planning. In fact, the real problem
What can and
cannot be changed, Practicing Future think can sometimes be like
remembering your day: you can sometimes worry over things
over which you have absolute control and then want to change
everything over which you have none. But, this is just a bad
habit. Scenario Planning helps us discern between what we can and
cannot control. It can be a problem when we don't do
For example, a participant asked for advice on how he might
stop a co-manager from calling impromptu meetings at great
inconvenience to other team members. The other manager was demanding team
members meet at the last minute and it was causing a lot of
disruption and bad will.
Well, the participant was so intently focused on changing
the other guy that he couldn't think of such obvious and simple
solutions such as recording or video-taping the meeting for
those who couldn't attend impromptu meetings.
How many times do you think it would take for this guy to
be alone in a meeting room with a recording device before he
figured out that he needed to give people more advance notice
of meeting times?
"What If" questions are the most important? Scenario Planning helps us establish
priorities by teaching us to ask two (2) fundamental questions
of constructed scenarios:
|| What would we do if….?
For example, Shell’s managers discussed a world of $15-a-barrel oil when the price was $30, and no one believed it would fall.
When it did, they were ready.
|| What needs to happen if…?
Or, What needs to happen for
this optimistic future to come true? (Asking this question
||For example, the owners of the Titanic wanted to believe that she was “unsinkable.” Someone could have asked the question: “What has to happen for this wish to come true?”
||Answer: She would have had to been able to collide at full speed with an iceberg or some other threatening object without sustaining major damage.
||In this way, the owners of the White Star Line could
have established their priorities a little better, don't
Simple, But Not Easy. Yes, these questions seem simple; but asking them is
not easy for most of us because it requires a willingness to "think" differently and to
express weaknesses and vulnerabilities in project or business plans. This may be too uncomfortable for
In America, we admire leaders who have a strong sense of vision and
unwavering determination. Scenario Planning puts this kind of
thinking on its' proverbial "head." It rewards those of us who are
"nay-sayers" giving voice to potentially disastrous issues or possibilities. Scenario Planning allows for the
expression of doubt which sometimes is squelched
until it is too late to react without considerable
embarrassment, cost, etc.
There are four different ways one might use the techniques
we will introduce in this WEBinar on Scenario Planning:
||To strengthen management
||Scenario Planning raises
questions in key areas of management development.
||To put Scenario Planning
to work in your organization
||To teach the
||Ideas to help senior
managers use Scenario Planning as a strategic planning
Wed. February 6, 2013
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