Backwards planning and variants has been around long enough to
suggest some value contribution. But what *is* that contribution? I
think not nearly as great as all the fuss.
Standing in the future looking backwards is a useful technique to get
beyond the limited possibility that is an extension of present
knowledge of how to get there. But it doesn't move that much farther
out in most cases. Why not?
I suggest it's because we know that we are going to use it to plan
and we know where we are heading (backwards) when we start. If it is
the larger connection to current limited realities that we are
seeking to break - if we want to enter new domains of possibility to
explore - backwards planning approaches will seldom open the
For that, I think, we need new theory or hew hypotheses or something
similar which open new territory to explore. If we are concerned
with the backwards planning approach, there isn't much room for
inquiry, exporation and thinking in new domains.
I'm not critising backwards planning. I just want to put it in its
place and not some place that it doesn't fulfill very well.
-- Michael McMaster Michael@kbddean.demon.co.uk