The word ‘plan’ bothers me. It doesn’t make me tingle, or happy or excited. I’m not talking about the philosophy of planning, I’m talking about the actual word, so I’ve recently removed this particular noun from my vocabulary and replaced it with the work ‘Journey’ …
Use the word plan in your programme or project by all means as it addresses a specific thing that is being delivered. A good example being the Ambulance programme i worked on years ago, we had to put one single radio network into all Ambulance Trusts in the country whilst, transitioning from lots of old networks. This had to be done at the same time as making sure that, if you keeled over an ambulance would get to you in 8 mins. Planning was our top priority and we had the best plan I’ve ever seen, which you would hope would be the case given the programme had life or death implications.
Portfolio’s of corporate change though, a very different beast in my opinion. They are not so much about going to a new place but more about traveling to a new world and in order to get to a new world you need to go on a journey, which means you need to bring people with you.
I now use the words ‘Portfolio Journey’ instead of ‘Portfolio Plan’ and I’ve been helping people to create their Portfolio Journeys in a very new way which is inspired by the Harry Pecks 1933 design of the London Underground. I’ve found people are much more engaged with the journey concept, it works great for communication and it helps business areas/directorate get involved because I write it in a language that my mother can understand, so everyone relates to it. Click on the presentation below and you’ll see an really really cool example of what we did at the Office for National Statistics.
Another thing I do is get a massive print done, stick it on the wall and then watch people come over to see what it is, its like a huge magnet in the office. The other beauty of this is I put a sign next to it prompting people to draw on a dependency if they spot one which works really well…you just can’t achieve that engagement or interest with a 2000 line MS project plan or some dodgy excel worksheet.