Does your shop do planning theater?1
Planning theater is when we spend time pretending to plan, by:
- Starting with both ship day and the work list;
- Impressing the plebes with the severity of the deadline;
- Requiring reduced estimates without reduced work;
- Agreeing with a scheme that will never happen;
There is usually only one reason for a team to choose planning theater over plain old planning: someone powerful wishes the team to bless some ridiculous assessment that they’re now committed to.
Here’s the thing. The next time you start a session of planning theater, why not just cut to the chase? Print out the centered text below and affix your team’s signature to it. After all, rushing through a planning theatre session will work exactly as well as leisurely strolling through one: Not at all.
Since No One Cares About
The Correlation Of This Plan
We The Undersigned Hereby Bless It
 I am indebted to Seth Godin for a number of things, but just now I want to highlight one: his coinage of the phrase security theater to highlight the impressive-but-useless process of boarding an airplane. [Ed: Apparently, I’m not indebted to Godin as much as I thought. Bruce Schneier http://www.schneier.com/ is the rightful coiner of the phrase “security theater”.]