Backward Planning

When planning a project you can either start at the beginning and plan forward, or you can start at the end and plan backwards. If you have been a forward planner, try starting the process with backward planning and finish with a forward planning reality check.

When you begin the planning process at the end, you are forced to specifically define the end state and you are encouraged to consider what are the measures of success.  Failed projects tend to have an ill defined end point and no measures of success.  Once you know the end state, you can determine what is the very last step before you achieve it.  You can then continue to work backwards until you arrive at the beginning.  Now you can start at the beginning and plan forward filling in the details of the backward plan.

The forward planning process is where you make sure to include all the elements of change management and determine how you will achieve the all important stakeholder engagement and buy in.

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