PRO / CON Template – Sample Project Plan

Using the Compression Planning PRO/CON Template to aid in Decision Making

One of my favorite Compression Planning formations is the one where you identify the Pros and the Cons of options.  I’ve used this simple template in many ways in my life – both personally and professionally.  It’s a simple but powerful way to make options compete against each other and it helps a group arrive at a decision.  You may not receive 100% consensus on that decision, but everyone will understand how you arrived at it and will have had input into each of your options.

Professional applications can vary from choosing a vendor to choosing decor to remodel an office suite.  It’s helpful to have several competing options and you need a process to help one surface to the top.

A Personal PRO/CON example: Sample project plan

I remember when Stephanie and I were going to buy our first house.  Our poor agent probably made less than minimum wage having us as clients as we went through SO many houses.  I imagine this is typical of first time buyers though.  We were overwhelmed with the choices and each of us had different wants and needs.  We needed a process to help us arrive at a mutual decision.

So, we pulled out our “marriage mediation tool with a copay” – the storyboard and used the PRO/CON template.

We had physically visited over two dozen houses and were kicking around three different ones.  One was ridiculously cheap and needed a lot of work.  The other two were on the upper end of what were we willing to spend (not what we could afford according to the real estate agent which was ridiculous).  We had pictures, house brochures and other items we printed off the internet.

We created three mutually exclusive categories:  House A, House B, House C and pinned the pictures and brochures around each of the options.

Next, Stephanie and I generated ideas under each of the PROS to all of the options.  We didn’t do all the PROS on House A and then all of the CONS on House A.  We did the PROS on House A, the PROS on House B and finally the PROS on House C.

When you have finished identifying all of the PROS, go after the CONS, but break the sequence.  Start with C, then do A, and finish with B.  You may even want to consider a break of some sort before you come back and identify all of the CONS.

Stephanie had her favorite house and I had mine.  However we jointly participated on all three sections – both PROS and CONS.

Often what happens in a session like this is that you will find people debating whether a particular point is a PRO or a CON.  This can simply be a matter of perspective.  The important thing is to keep the issue moving.  If there is disagreement on the issue, you can always pin it in the middle of the two columns.

During your personal PRO/CON Compression Planning session, don’t be surprised if a NEW option emerges.  Just add it and keep on plugging through the process.

Using the Compression Planning process in this way has been extremely helping in countless situations.  Both the data and the emotional issues are captured.

In our case, we let the storyboard stand as it was for a few days and let it “talk” to us.  We made the decision to buy the house we both at first said “no way” and we’ve now been here for 12 years!

The Compression Planning PRO/CON Template

If you have “The Compression Planning Advantage:  A Blueprint for Resolving Complex Issues” it can be found on page 55.  This may be one of the simplest templates I have ever used but it has proven to be extremely powerful each time.

If you don’t have the template, let me know and I’d be happy to email it to you.

Pat McNellis

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