Some of you may have heard the expression: “The plan is nothing, planning is everything”. The quote has often been contributed to Eisenhower, however, what he really said was
Quote: In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
Who: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969), U.S. general, Republican politician, president. Quoted by Richard Nixon in “Krushchev,” Six Crises (1962).
Scrum and Agile are often accused of being undisciplined and not putting enough emphasis on plans. This is not correct – we just have a realistic perception of plans.
A plan is not some sort of project-type Koran, a holy scripture, descended from the sky and having to be blindly obeyed. A plan is and indication that a certain course of action is expected under certain circumstances.
Sometimes the conditions or circumstances change, or we become wiser – then we alter our reaction to the surrundings and the course of action changes.
Planning is crucially important, because it is built on our understanding of the reality surrounding us. If we do not make any any plans, it is rather probable that either, we do not realize that there has been a change of circumstances or, we are not capable of responding rationally towards it.
When Eisenhower landed on the beaches of Normandy, his plan did not stick; but his planning provided sufficient knowledge of the situation at hand so that people could respond rationally to the altered circumstances.