Do not fall in love with your plan

July 14, 2017 by Brenna Daley

A team of development personnel engage in a Scrum.

About the author

Brenna Daley

Associate technical writer

Brenna works on the Advicent Learning Development team to create user help materials for both clients and advisors. She loves helping others strengthen their communication skills through writing.

Everything that I plan usually has a backup plan, and at least seven contingency plans that I obsess over in case the weather is unpredictable, I choose to wear heels when I should have worn flats, or I forget my lunch on the kitchen table.

This obsessiveness over planning—while probably not very helpful for my recent efforts to be more mindful—often helps me out when things go wrong, or simply when one of my friends needs a snack and I happen to have five options in my purse.

The Scrum methodology

Recently, I have had a change of mind after learning more about iterative planning for work. One methodology often used in software development is called “Scrum,” and it includes planning short durations of work, and then getting feedback from users and taking a retrospective approach as to what can be improved from the previous iteration.

One of the many lessons that struck me about scrums is from Jeff Sutherland, one of the creators of the Scrum methodology, when he says: “do not fall in love with your plan.” By this, he means that planning too far into the future is often inefficient because of how fast the world moves. Between the time that everything is planned and when the project is actually implemented, your plans could change drastically. Planning software projects too far in advance can often hold a team back.

But when we are planning for a goal as large as retirement, iterative planning can seem more complicated considering how far away that goal might be. An annual check-in with an advisor can help to stay on top of changes, of course, but a lot can happen in a year. Loss of income, lifestyle changes, and overspending are ways that a client may not realize the impact of until they are further along in their plan. Even the best calculation engine on the market is unable to predict unexpected life events.

In the interim of meeting with clients, a client portal is a great way for clients to stay on top of their financial situation, and see whether they are on- or off-track for achieving their financial goals. Clients can stay up-to-date on details such as their their current net worth and cash flow, and reach out to their advisor with any concerns. They can even sync the account values from their financial institution so that the value of their assets is always up-to-date, and advisors can avoid manually entering new account values at each meeting.


To learn how Narrator Clients®, a client portal offered by Advicent, can help your practice, click here.