“Were we right about last week?” I asked my project manager.

She laughed, “Not really.”

Yesterday, we reviewed our new forecasting system as part of our standing management meeting. The goal is to be able to predict how our operations are going to look over a month out. I.e. Who will work on what and when for the next month.

Similarly, on the growth plan I’ve been developing, there are financial forecasts for a variety of scenarios.

No forecast I’ve ever developed has been accurate. While I’m sure I could be better at planning and analysis, the reason they and the ops forecast haven’t proved true is because no one can predict the future.

Though we haven’t been able to maintain accuracy for just a week out with our operations forecasts, it’s still working. Internally, things feel smoother for the team because there’s a pre-existing game plan. From a management standpoint, we have a clearer idea of the interactions between various needs. The forecast sheds light on the inherent trade-offs of decisions or events that interrupt work.

Its utility isn’t in its accuracy, it’s in understanding decisions over time.

It enables us to see how the movement of pieces on the chess board could impact the game three, four, five moves from now.

Featured image is Knights Templar playing chess, Libro de los juegos, 1283. Used under public domain.