The Importance of Writing Down Your Plan

People are often surprised when things don't go according to plan. In the web development world this may be a customer presentation, server maintenance gone bad or a dozen of other things. When this happens, it's not a sign of the world conspiring against you, but rather a sign of bad planning.

Any good plan should contain logical "what if" scenarios, where you try to identify things that could possibly go wrong - and ways to compensate for them or prevent them entirely. In the case of a presentation, what do you do if there is no projector? What if your computer breaks? What if the customer has questions that can't be answered by your presentation? These alternative scenarios create a number of different forks and bends that people are generally very bad at trying to predict and account for all at once. The solution? Write your plan down.

Writing a plan down gives a chance for review, introspection and thinking up additional scenarios while reliving you of having to remember everything you've thought of so far. It also makes it easier to share your plan with other people (also a good idea) and quickly recall all the details of your plan after a night of sleep.

So the next time life surprises you, instead of cursing your luck - take it as a wake up call to do a little more advanced planning next time. And be sure to write things down.


Last night we were discussing how the mere act of talking about your plan aloud to another human is an essential part of the plan making. Just through explanation you tend to catch multiple bugs and holes in your thought that may have snuck by you.

A wise woman once told me that we make plans in times of sanity and calm, and enact them in times of chaos and stress, relying on our previous sanity to guide us through the chaos when we have nothing else to hold on to. Clearly through experience our planning gets better, last night we had some chaos that escalated in part because we needed to learn some key pieces in order to ensure planning goes better next time.

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About the Author

Joaquin Lippincott, CEO

Joaquin is a modern technology veteran. Throughout his career he has built successful digital strategies with a wide assortment of transformative technologies and platforms, helping clients identify a clear path for success. Over the years he has worked with industry leaders such as DC Comics, the Emmys, Intel, Technicolor, Verizon Wireless, Habitat for Humanity, Limewire, the Linux Foundation, Sony Pictures Television, Mercy Corps, and Cisco as well as numerous small businesses, advertising agencies and internet start ups. With over 14 years of experience in his field he is still as passionate about technology as ever. Joaquin is a graduate from UCLA with a degree in design and has also served on the AIGA Portland chapter board as President. Twitter: @joaquinlippinco

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