Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Reports/Movement Strategy Playbook/Invest in up-front planning

Invest in up-front planning

Slowing down at the start can help you go faster later on. Across the working groups, liaisons and community we spoke with, there was widespread agreement: investing in up-front planning was essential to avoiding delays, confusion and pain later in the process.

Participant writing at a desk amongst notes with empty coffee mugs, food and color cards with handwriting in Sharpie
Strategy Writing Sprint in Wikimedia Deutschland Office (Berlin), December 1st - 7th, 2019
  • "When enough time is given to planning, you don't get bogged down later. Rushing the planning phase just creates bottlenecks later on.”
  • "Don’t do planning at the same time as hiring / on-boarding. It’s unrealistic.”
  • "Process design was mostly synchronous with work, rather than preceding it. This resulted in a constant lack of clarity about next steps.”

Running an “iterative” or agile process doesn’t mean you can’t plan edit

One of the tensions in any iterative or adaptive process is balancing the need for planning with the need for adaptation and emergence. Being “iterative” doesn’t mean you can’t plan; it just means you need to build regular moments for group reflection, learning, and improvement into the process.

  • “Iteration is not the same as ‘constant scrambling.’ There was a lot of fetishizing 'iteration' as a way to avoid doing planning. But in some instances, that worked against inclusion. It’s hard to participate in a thing you don’t understand, or that keeps changing all the time.”
  • “One of the biggest problems for us as Strategy Liaisons was: the frequent changes to the process. It wasn’t that the process was too complicated, but it was redesigned several times on the way. That's the difficulty. Changes happened too often, and made it harder for people to digest and understand at their pace.”

Tools and examples for planning edit

Do you have tools, methods or ideas that you, your community or organization use for this? Add them to this section for others to see.