How to Help Non-Planners Become Planners

Dianne is a Director of Information Technology in Dumont, New Jersey.

In the wide scope of personalities, some people have an inherent capacity to plan while others are more off-the-cuff. While I personally admire people who have an adventurous spirit and hit the road without a map and take life as it comes, I (like many others out there) am simply not that person.

Even in my personal life, I have always been a list maker. I never go into a weekend without a to-do list and a general idea as to when and how I will accomplish my objectives. I can truly say I am a project manager at heart, and I can easily identify those who are not.

Professionally for me, the non-planners of the world are some of the hardest people to interact with. While I’m trying to create the ever-so-valued work breakdown structure, others may be jumping into the project full-steam ahead with no blueprint or timeline. In my opinion, that’s like taking a dive off a cliff and hoping you have a parachute.

Through the years, I’ve developed some simple tactics to help avoid professional cliff jumping. These tactics are especially useful when you’re dealing with upper management or high-profile stakeholders that just want the job done without spending time on planning.

Those of us who value project management know that even small projects deserve the respect of a well-thought-out project plan and the application of basic PM principles. I was told …

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"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him."

- Galileo Galilei

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