Excluding re-planning from your retail project management practice, is like looking at a map before starting out on a hike and then never consulting it again. It’s not likely to get everybody to the destination in one piece.

It’s easy enough to fall into the trap of thinking that planning is something that happens just at the beginning of a project and then you just execute the plan.

Reality is a little bit different.

Some years ago, I hiked the Kokoda Track with my son in a school group.

We had a plan, where we were going to stay each night and how to get from one end to the other. One of the unexpected things that happened on this hike was a landslide on the track.

On the second to last day, we were supposed to get to Isurava, where the memorial is. There had been a landslide, and we were not able to make it to camp that night.

So, we had to re-plan.

We had to stop in a different village from where we had intended to stay. We made camp earlier that night, and then we had to get up earlier the following morning. Our local guides were able to find a path through the jungle.

Basically, we were walking through what was a virgin jungle, and then walking through a massive tear in the landscape, which was where rock and mud had slid down the side of the mountain.

We made it to our destination. Later than expected, but we all made it there in one piece.

I’m sharing this story because it reminds me of a lot of the kind of re-planning that we need to do in projects.

Changes come out of the left-field, like that landslip, changes that you couldn’t have possibly planned for.

In project work, people’s lives happen; there are sicknesses, people’s families have difficulties and breakdowns, and projects being pretty much about a team of people means that those kinds of life events can impact the project plan (and the schedule, because they are NOT the same thing).

So, a plan is not a fixed thing that you just do once and then follow to the letter. A plan is a constantly evolving thing based on the changing circumstances around you (and sometimes the changing business needs).

This has been January for me, both personally and professionally.

The assumptions that I started the year with have turned out not to be so, and the optimism that I usually feel at this time of year is not there.

I, like probably many others, have struggled to find optimism as this year has so far been mostly characterised by a heightened state of alertness that the extraordinary events of the bushfires have generated.

Whilst I am a city dweller and less impacted by the fires, the smell of smoke and the hazy conditions, not to mention the constant sense of pending emergency, is draining.

So far from starting the new year refreshed and ready to go with new retail projects, it feels a bit like we’re scrambling to re-frame, re-plan and make better sense of what’s ahead. At 6R, we’re expert at implementing retail systems and we’re here to guide and lend a hand when systems implementations are planned and re-planned. Feel free to reach out and connect with us, we might be the experience that you need.