Navigating the Roadblocks and Detours…

Image Source: Road Signs Direct


So we’ve made our plan, gathered all the necessary supplies, and headed out on our journey. We’ve familiarized ourselves with the rules and know to look for important guideposts along the way. That means everything will be perfect, right?

We’ve jumped in the car and headed toward our destination with our road map in hand. We’ve planned out our stops to resupply and maybe even taken into account a few route options in case we want to make a stop or two along the way. We’ve taken in to consideration the time of day, the weather, and any other factor that may have an impact on our journey. But, as we travel along, we suddenly come across a roadblock. A critical bridge is closed for repair and none of our planning accounted for this detour. Now, our planned road map is no longer relevant and we are in a dilemma. In reality, no matter how foolproof we try to make our plans, there will always be something that is outside of our expectations.

With today’s technology, a GPS system would immediately be able to give us alternate directions to get around our unplanned obstacle. Prior to the advent of GPS technology though, at best you would be able to pull out a physical map and recalculate a new route. Or, if it’s a small detour, there will frequently be signs that direct you to a predesignated route to circumvent the obstacle as well.

All of these potential solutions to the dilemma have one thing on common: an action can be taken at the time of a change of plans. “Coaches spend hours developing strategy before a big game,  but cannot predict which tactics they will be using halfway through the game until they see how it develops. Similarly, IT planning time can be well spent understanding how different triggers and results should impact IT’s directions on an ongoing basis. Just as a coach develops options to respond to changing dynamics during the game, EA can plan for options and ensure that flexibility is accommodated to manage a changing environment (Weiss, Rosser and Blanton 2005).”  By developing a dynamic strategy to deal with potential changes, the plan becomes agile and responsive, as opposed to being rigid and inflexible.

That strategy could be to develop a tool that will automatically recalculate our intended destination to avoid obstacles. It could be a plan to reevaluate our road map once we meet an obstacle. Or even could be to simply use existing guiding principles to take a brief detour but still be on track to our destination. Whatever method we decide, by developing a strategy beforehand, we can dynamically address issues as they arise and still be successful in reaching our destination.

Image Source: Shutterstock



Weiss, D., Rosser, B., Blanton, C. (2005) Enterprise Architecture Improves IT Planning Synergies (G00130847). Gartner, October

#ea872 #agile #strategy


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