Make a Plan

Step 2: Planning
You must make a plan before you begin.

I enjoy driving. I got it from my father. He was a world traveler, but he also wound his way all over these United States. My father was influenced by Jack Kerouac and that’s what inspired him to explore and have new experiences. His sense of adventure ultimately took him to Denver where he lived in a boarding house just down the street from the boarding house Kerouac lived in. My father infused his children with a sense of wanderlust as well. I love getting in the car and driving to wherever. I don’t make a plan, I just drive to experience the scenery; to find new places and try new foods. I don’t know where I’m going, I just go for the sake of going. As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move…”.

That’s a great approach for a weekend, but not for development.

To be efficient and ensure that all requirements are met, you must make a plan before you start developing. For me, my plan includes wireframes, flowcharts, Gantt charts, and good old-fashioned checklists. (I enjoy my checklists almost as much as I enjoy driving.)

Why is important to plan your development before you start? For me, I don’t want to wait until I’m building the approval part of the process to find out who those approvals are supposed to go to. I don’t want to be knees-deep in development only to have to reach out and get names and email addresses for individual approvers or shared mailboxes. In the requirements gathering phase, I am learning all about the process and how it works from end to end. That is the time I ask the questions about who the approvers are and where notifications go. When laying out the plan for the development, that’s when I discover any gaps, any questions I didn’t ask or information I didn’t get, such as an email for a shared mailbox. It happens sometimes. The conversation can be so robust and rapid that you forget to ask about something before the conversation goes in a new direction. Once all parties have agreed on the requirements, then it’s time to make the plan.

Remember the 5 P’s? Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. It is sooooo true. Before you begin building anything, whether it’s an approval process or a house, you must have a plan in place. That is the only way to ensure that you have gathered all the information you need to build the solution.

If you just want throw caution to the wind and see where the day takes you, then I strongly recommend a road trip. 😊