Superficially a good plan is one that delivers what we want. And certainly if a plan does end up delivering what we want then we can look back and say it was—at worst—good enough.
But in reality it’s very rare that the plan we start off with is the one that will carry us through to the end. Reality has a habit of intervening, and inevitably we find either something unexpected happens or we have misjudged something. This is only natural. We cannot guess and cover off all eventualities.
A good plan, then, is one that can flex in the face of reality. Depending on the situation different kinds of flexibility may be appropriate. Some that I can think of are: ensuring that work done isn’t wasted after a change of direction; the ability to make commitments as late as possible, when we have the most or best information available; and having feedback loops built in.
In the end we won’t be remembered for our plans, but for what we deliver.