Reply to Kent Myers
> Based on the way you posed the alternatives -- forward planner versus
> backward planner -- the backward option wins because (as already
> mentioned) it is more efficient. It does not having to consider unused
> Let me pose the alternatives differently. This will sound crazy to you.
> (a) The backward planner describes his goal, then fills in.
> (b) The forward planner describes his current state, makes
> recommendations for action, then describes a goal.
> (Add to (b) the "wasting agenda phenomena": initial items get the
> attention and later items are tabled.)
> The Department of Defense is committed to (b), plus the wasting agenda.
> Quite large planning projects may never seriously discuss a goal! Local
> reengineers play into it by saying, "You have to know where you are before
> you decide where you are going." Challenge this, and the reaction is the
> same as when you misspeak in church. The first irony is that everybody
> knows perfectly well where they are, from countless hours discussing power
> relations and policy minutiae. The second irony is that (a) is used when
> it really counts -- for military operations.
[some stuff snipped]
The backward option only works if _someone_else_ has defined the goal for
you. What happens in situations where there is no pre-defined goal? Examples
- what will our international relationships look like in the year 2000?
- what force structure capabilities will we require to deal with these
- what are future possible threat scenarios?
- what planning do we need to take to combat these threat scenarios?
Each of these examples requires starting from where you are today and
projecting forward (and obviously as you work through the details you end
up flipping "backwards" and "forwards" as you work through the planning
Further, these examples don't just work for military organisations - I
understand that the Royal Dutch / Shell company used similar strategies
during the 70s and 80s to better position the company to take advantage of
changes in the oil industry.
I do agree that meetings can discuss minutiae forever in this forward
planning approach. However, I would argue that the best way to combat this
would be to have a strong leader/facilitator who understands the total
process and _knows_ when to enable debate for common understanding, and
when to progress the planning process to avoid stalemates (I'm sure that
there are other people on this list who could give some pointers as to
"how" and "when" this should be done).
What I'd really like to know is how people do this forward planning.
Everything I've read, or discussed with people, indicates that analytical
decision-making processes can be used, but somewhere in this process
occurs some intuition, some conceptual leap, or some "piece of magic"
whereby people conceptualise the future from a new perspective (now, would
you like me to tell you what computers _cannot_ do, and why AI hasn't
worked yet :->)
Another measly $.02 worth
-- John O'Neill DSTO C3 Research Centre, Australia email: firstname.lastname@example.org