When Is It Time to Replan?

If you’ve read any of my project management writing, you know I’m a huge fan of replanning. We had a chance to do that with our house remodel.

I have a space in my new office that used to be a closet. We planned to open it up and create what I call a “nook,” an open storage space. I will be able to see all of my storage boxes.

I have many storage boxes. I have index cards of various sizes, stickies, markers, printer paper, supplies for various simulations, the list goes on and on. I need to be able to access these boxes. I want things clean and neat. This is the part of my office that is already organized. Everything has a box. The boxes all are where I can reach them.

However, my new office has a different aspect ratio. Okay, that was kind of geeky. My new office is a different size and layout than my current office. (That was better.) I need to organize differently. I want everything in my nook.

Our kitchen and bath designer was supposed to design my nook. Mark and I met with her back in March. We had a start of a plan.

We didn’t hear from her in April. I was worried. We had emails back and forth, but no plans. In early May, Mark received a plan, but it had no dimensions on it. Well, I can’t tell anything with a plan with no dimensions. I pulled the plug. I told the builder I was no longer willing to work with the designer. There were not enough antacids in the world to allow to me to continue.

The builder came over, saw what I have for boxes. In 30 minutes, he designed my office nook for the new house. Two days later, he emailed me a plan with dimensions, and explained that the counter had to be 30 inches off the floor in order to accommodate my boxes. I could not get both storage and pack-my-suitcase capability in my nook. Okay, I understood. I accepted the design and asked him to please go ahead.

They are halfway done building my nook. It is a thing of beauty. It will be just what I need for all of my stuff. I am very happy.

At some point, when you solve problems, you often have a decision point. You need to decide: do I continue as I am? Do I change course?

This time is sometimes called the “most responsible moment.” Some people like to call it the “last responsible moment.” I don’t like to call it that, because when it’s the “last” responsible moment, people leave until past the last moment, and it turns into a crisis.

Instead, you manage the risks in your project. You look at the trigger dates. You ask yourself, “Is there a date by which I need to act, so I don’t create a crisis?” That date, or some time before it, is your most responsible moment.

Too far in advance, and you’ve cut off other people’s possibilities to act. Too late, and you have a crisis.

You have to see your current reality. You have to see possibilities. I was frustrated with our designer, but I wasn’t yet angry, because it was not yet a crisis. Do you see the difference?

Projects—and life—almost never go according to plan. Being able to consider Plan B, Plan C, and even Plan D (remember your Rule of Three) will help you replan.

So, that is this week’s question of the week. When is time for you to replan?

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