36. Validate Planning Through Historical Experience
Much of the Web Reliability Framework assumes that each area of the system carries with it a domain of expertise. As an example, at the team level, there are experts who can help a client team with setting up continuous improvement systems for groups of people. Similarly, with strategic planning work, there are also experts. The principle power of their expertise comes from experience.
The nature of planning work is forward-looking. The work is high risk since it seeks to predict and influence the future, a notoriously challenging prospect. One of the only reliable ways of validating a forward-looking strategy is to check it against previous experience. Where experts are available who can bring deep experience to bear, strategy will end up more sound and dependable.
I recently assisted an attorney in New Orleans with his firm's website. He approached me in search of a redesign hoping that a fresh new look would attract new business. This idea ran contrary to my experience in web marketing strategy. I am far from a strategic web marketing expert. I have minimal experience with it since I am primarily a coder, but even I knew a bit more than my attorney friend. I asked him, testing his strategy against my historical experience, how he knew that a redesign would bring in more clients. I asked him what marketing and positioning exercises he had done to verify that a redesign would result in new business flowing into his firm. He did not have a clear answer. By simply and quickly testing his plan against even my limited experience we had a reality check moment together. I encouraged him to look elsewhere for the win. His website design was fine, it was perhaps the earlier stage of his sales funnel that needed attention. I urged him to consider blogging his expertise and experience in order to pick up search traffic.
A simple test of a strategy against the historical experience of those more expert than you can yield fruitful validation or invalidation of a strategy. Doing so early can prevent waste and friction.