Planning the changes

Creating the plans for implementing the changes.

Identifying what the plans need to include.

Desk top overChaos management is essential to turn a chaotic or disorganised situation an efficient organised structure that is easy to use or understand. This is applicable to any situation whether in the real world (e.g. moving things around), or making plans (e.g. organising an event) or just figuring out your own ideas (e.g. a story outline). 

This page looks at how to plan for the changes you require. For other options please return to: Chaos main menu

Planning for the changes

Once you have worked out what it is that you want to achieve (The objective) it is time to start planning for the changes.

24 hour clock

Example used: Re-organising files on a shared computer network
A real test case is used to help demonstrate the planning for a task. A restructuring was required of a computer database:

  • It contained more than 300 files.
  • These were used, shared and modified by a variety of different people.
  • It was always in constant use, with some of the files being updated at any moment in time by different people
  • There were a number of files that were no longer being used (obsolete)

This task requires a major reorganising of the files within the database, with new files to be created, obsolete files removed and many that had to be modified –  And it was great fun to do!

1) Do not cut back on the time you spend on the planning

This is very important. It can be all too easy to not give this stage the time it deserves. You only want to do these changes once and you will save more time in the long run if they go smoothly once you begin.
Your changes may only take a couple of minutes (e.g. rearranging the desk), but few will ever be that simple.

Example note: With many people using it, some files in use, some files duplicated and a general messy set-up, the planning required taking all of these aspects into consideration and figuring out how to cause the least interference to other users during the restructuring task.

Key point: The bigger the changes, the more planning time you will need

2) How many different stages are required to achieve your objective?

If your objective has more than one stage required to complete the task then each stage will need to be recognised and its requirements identified, together with some idea of the time it may take to complete it. For example you may need to rearrange some shelves, the stages for this will include working out the new arrangement, removing the current items in an orderly manner, setting up the new layout and replacing the items back into there new places

Example note: The stages would include understanding the current design, working out what was required at the end, and how to get from one to the other whilst upsetting as few people as possible. With the understanding that a lot of files were going to be affected by whatever happened.

Key point: Ensure that you identify as many of the stages that your task will require

3) How many different activities are required to complete your objective?

If your objective has more than one activity required to complete the task then these need to be identified as separate activities in your plan; each activity will need to be given its own title and the stages required for that activity identified.

Example note: Activities included: talking to the users of the database to find out who used what, working out the design of the new database, identifying what files had to be changed and how – including renaming files, creating new files, removing obsolete files …

Key point: Each stage from step two will have its own activity list

4) How much inconvenience will it cause to other people?

The level of inconvenience that your changes will cause to other people could be as simple as being unable to use a draw for 5 minutes or as complex as moving them to a different part of the building. Whatever the level of impact some kind of warning should be issued in advance of the changes so that they are prepared for the inconvenience – the larger the changes the earlier the warning should be given.

Example note: When an activity on the list was planned to be started in the not too distant future (a day or so, or a week for bigger changes), then the people who would be affected by that activity were warned in advance so that they were ready for it and any arrangements could be made – including making my own adjustments if there was a problem.

Key point: The bigger the changes, the earlier the warning to others should be given

5) Will you need extra support to implement the changes?

Small Chantry Kitchen 1Are you going to need other people to help with these changes? If so then do you require people with special skills? For example if you want to put new shelves on a wall you will need to arrange for support from someone – whether this is an external company with the skills required to perform the task or just simply asking a neighbour to hold the other end of the shelf.

Tip: by warning people as soon as you know they have a part to play, even when you do not know when, will let them be ready for when the time comes for you to ask them.

Example note: The people who may be involved at some point were told about that requirement before the project started (‘at some point I will need you help to …’), then as the time approached they were contacted and it was not a surprise to them.

Key point: Let people know if you need their support as soon as you can, even if you do not know when

6) When would be a good time to implement your changes?

Are you free to choose a time? Or are you constrained for some reason? If you do have limitations (for example perhaps it can only be done at weekends, or you need a specific person) and you have a number of limitations, then doing a time schedule for the availability of each and cross referencing them to sort out the time will be required will help with allocating tasks to do and when. (See Managing yourself for tips on how to create your task list)

Example note: There were quite a lot of different tasks and activities to be completed. I drew up a list of the tasks and identified what resources I had and at what time – thus allowing myself to move between tasks accordingly. This ensured that when I lost a resource (a person, item, space, etc.) I could switch to a different task.

Key point: Make sure that you are free at that time. 

7) Ensure that the resources will be available, that they do exist somewhere even if you do not need them yet

Everything that you will need to use to complete the task should be available for when you require it. If something needs to be ordered or brought in then identify how long it would take for them to arrive and plan that in to your schedule.

Example note: This included arranging for extra disc space on the computer to save files during the time that I was working with them.

Key point: Sort out all the resources that you need before the day itself


Good planning will lead to a better result when the changes do take place. Planning includes ensuring that the facilities you require will be available when you need them and letting others know what is going to happen.

Now it is time to move onto the preparation for the task: The preparation.

 Jenny M L ~  Inspiring the Imagination ~ Contact Me


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