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The Systems Approach to Planning

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One of the fundamental functions of management is planning, yet the current planning process often produces poor plans that are incomplete, unusable, and do not build prevention and risk management into the project. After all, if something did not happen, one cannot be sure if it would or would not have happened after the fact.

My research finds that one reason for poor planning is that the process, as currently taught, is defective and needs to be modified. We can formulate the problem of modifying the teaching paradigm as outlined below, using the template from a previous blog video [1]:

  • The undesirable situation: Planning is not performed well resulting in plans that are incomplete and unusable.
  • The feasible conceptual future desirable situation (FCFDS): Plans are complete, comprehensive, and useable.
  • The problem: To figure out a way to realize the FCFDS and teach it; not just create a new template.
  • The solution: The systems approach to planning.

The systems approach to planning produces more complete and useable plans by working backward from the end of the project to the start of the project. This approach builds prevention and risk-management into the project.

I have created a short video on the systems approach to planning which can be found at The video:

  1. Describes the systems approach to planning.
  2. Shows how the systems approach differs from the traditional approach.
  3. Shows how ‘prevention’ and risk management are built into planning.
  4. Shows how the benefits of prevention can be demonstrated.
  5. Provides three useful planning tools.

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