Thinking Backwards is the Way to Plan

When we sit down to plan anything, the obvious choice is what we've been taught all of our lives.

Start from the beginning!

It makes sense. What's the first step? Once we know where to start, it's just a matter of working step by step to the finish line.

✅ Done!

This approach of starting at the beginning is fundamentally flawed. It's focused on us, the ones doing the work, and not the folks that will eventually use or consume the work or even the work itself.

When we start at the beginning, we lose sight of the outcomes in favor of doing something.

What if we start at the end? What if the questions are related directly to the outcomes we want to achieve, the work we want to do, and the folks that will experience the results?

The Backwards Plan

The idea for Backwards Planning was introduced to me by Amy Hoy in her amazing book Just Fucking Ship. It's a great book, and at the core of it is how to actually get something done. How do you take an idea from start to finish?

How do you actually ship something that is useful and valuable?

Start at the end.

It's oblique. At first I was scratching my head trying to figure out how to bend my brain to fit this approach, but once I tried it a few times, I was hooked.

Now the Backwards Plan is what I reach for anytime I need to figure out the path to results.

It's how I ship.

this post is a draft, more to come!

It makes me smile when I see it.

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Joel Hooks © 2022