Why Questions Are More Powerful Than Statements In Planning

There are many reasons why questions are more powerful than statements in any kind of macro or micro planning. Classic planning statements describe our commitments to assumptions we call mission, vision, values, goals, objectives, strategies, metrics, milestones and tactics. Every declaration of these is always in a context where uncertainty is a constant, no matter how much eager or anxious planning we do. Uncertainty is so ubiquitous, we actually create new uncertainties whenever we make progress and achievement from our plans.

Many planning models don't even give explicit and thorough attention to the scope, quality and timing of all the questions implied in the continuous assumptions declared in the process. Our most honest and proactive relationship to uncertainty is through our questions. Good questions give us focus, whatever the nature of uncertainties we face and create.

Here are 6 reasons why questions have more power.

  • Questions more directly manage risks by revealing uncertainties
  • Questions have more ability to align us on the same side of the table
  • Questions inspire more curiosity, learning, agility and possibilities
  • Questions lead to more realistic, supported and well-timed actions
  • Questions engage more diversity of personalities and perspectives
  • Questions evoke more openmindedness than skepticism or defensiveness

Planning is far more effective when it a plan of questions than a plan of statements. This is core to the power of the Agile Canvas.