Staying Lean: Why You Shouldn’t Have a Master Plan
“The concept of having a “master plan” is considered conventional wisdom by many business owners. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to have a business plan that maps out every detail of their future vision, with the promise that direction, motivation, and success for their company will soon follow. You can find countless thought leaders extolling the virtues of using a master plan from the startup stage to set immutable corporate goals as well as financial forecasts. …
But no matter how many people try to convince me about the importance of having a master plan, I think it’s important not to have one. Having every marching order written in stone quickly becomes an obstacle to learning and innovation–both for people and companies. For one thing, the very idea of a master plan requires fortune-telling in isolation from market realities. Master planning is generally done before a product (or company) even exists. Thus, speculation occurs prior to execution, with unknowns being conjectured in advance of having any tangible data on which to hazard such guesses.
A smarter approach to harnessing the power of future potential is to focus on keeping your business streamlined yet mutable, promoting an environment of ongoing examination and nonstop learning, constant retooling and continual improvement, minimum waste and maximum customer value. Flexibility, rather than strict adherence to static planning, is what ultimately allows a business to shift focus as needed to capitalize on market demands.”