Backcasting is used for creating an implementation plan.
As soon as the design of a desired ideal future of the system exists, stakeholders are aligned around it and top management approves its implementation, an implementation plan can be made.
Implementation planning involves backcasting. This implies determining the strategies (symbolised by the orange arrows) that are needed for moving the system from the current situation towards its ideal. For example, the transformation of an education system requires a redesign of the curriculum, retraining of teachers, developing new school books and support materials for teachers, amongst others.
Each of these strategies has sub-strategies. For example, to retrain teachers, a training course must be designed, a pilot project run and trainers need to be trained before the retraining can be rolled out.
Then the sequencing and expected timing of the various (sub)strategies can be planned. For example, the redesign of the curriculum must be in place before new school books can be written, or the retraining programme of teachers be designed.
Resource requirements for each sub-strategy need to be estimated. If resources are insufficient, the ideal design and the strategies need to be reviewed and – if necessary – changed.
Once an implementation plan is approved, it will in-form the different stakeholders to integrate their share of the implementation with their strategic and operational planning.
The ideal design inspires the strategies that need to be followed to move the system towards its ideal future.
relevance for the change manager
An ideal design is NOT an implementation plan. Many change interventions fail because a design of a project, function or organisation is implemented without making a detailed implementation plan first.