The fundamental flaw of Industrial Era Planning

Planning in the Industrial Era was based on the assumption that planning creates a predictable future. The assumption often worked because the world then didn't have a fraction of the complexity, connectivity and change it has today. In that era, the bottlenecks of hierarchy made information flows so slow and disconnected that predictability was more possible than it is today even when organizations still try to pretend to act like hierarchies.

The unspoken conversation among the guys (who dominated leadership) then was how effectively planning prevented communication. The engineers of the Industrial Era designed work and organizations specifically around the premise that communication was often a root cause of defects and problems. They approached planning similarly. We created plans so everyone could put their heads down and do their own work. Communication was evidence of breakdown and the purpose of more communication was to prevent the need for it.

In the Information Age, the old norms not only have irrelevance, they become the prime basis for failure. In this era, we don't plan to cease communication. We make communication the core of planning because we expect the constants to be complexity, connectivity and change. We define planning as the series of conversations that move any group from ambiguity to action in ways that make a positive difference.

This is a profound divergence in how we view planning. And this new perspective is precisely why approaches like The Agile Canvas is so effective in Information Age organizations.