To get a result in a matter of even modest complexity, you need a plan. As defined by Wikipedia, a plan is “…a set of intended actions, through which one expects to achieve a goal”. I would add that a plan needs to be a noun — something of substance and durability. Ideally, it’s written down. You might even title it The Plan.
The Plan is the plan until it is changed through some recognized and agreed process. We might present alternative options, recommend amendments, critique or resist the plan, but none of that changes the fact that as a matter of record, The Plan is what we’re doing.
This is an empowering principle for the team that’s implementing The Plan. It serves as a clear partition between what we’re officially doing, and the noise that arises while we’re doing it. One can work The Plan with confidence, knowing you’re aligned with the team and heading in the same direction. The Plan is resolute, stable & consistent. If you’re implementing what The Plan requires, you’re sure to be on the right track.
Disruptors are empowered too. If you want to lobby for a change, the owner if The Plan is the only one you need to convince. If you succeed, The Plan is updated, and the implementers fall in line to deliver the revised version of The Plan.
You don’t have to be a project manager to work this way. It’s a simple principle, and a way to bring clarity and provide stable direction in a world that changes fast.