Even though it's actually more important to critique plan success than failure, many organizations still suffer the illusion that failure is a better teacher than success.
Nevetheless, when we don't make plan, there are many possible mythologies used to explain all manner of causalities and correlations. Among the optional narratives:
- We didn't plan correctly for capacity
- We didn't have enough goals and objectives
- We failed to prevent the potential risks
- We didn't have enough rigorous reporting
- We lacked clear lines of authority and incentives
Although these often accompany plan failure, as symptoms, they are not root causes. The core driver of plan failure is the failure to identify and wisely time our questions throughout the process. Failure to plan in a realistic and agile way is not an assumption deficiency but an inquiry deficiency.
We make plans realistic and agile, and therefore ultimately more achievable, precisely by how well we identify, time and work through all of the questions that come up. In planning, we are as smart as our questions. Plan success is a function of smart teams.