In order to do anything complex, we need to plan. More specifically, we need to spend time planning. This may sound obvious, but many of us prefer to get busy doing what we think is the right thing. But as a former colleague of mine said once, "never mistake heat for work."
Planning is fundamentally different from doing. It's the difference between 1. charting your course through the wilderness and 2. chopping your way through the jungle. The part of our brain that plans is not the same part of our brain that does the work. We need to use both parts of our brain.
But complex plans can be just as problematic as having no plan at all. Complex plans cause confusion, and we wisely ignore them. We revert to making things up as we go.
So 1. we need do the planning, and 2. we need simple plans. Simple plans make it much easier to keep everyone headed in the right direction together.
Here's one way to create simple plans that take us where we want to go: create a sequenced punch-list of "fully loaded" deliverables that need to get done. That's it. The plan simply consists of defining, assigning, and completing these deliverables according to the schedule.
What's a fully loaded deliverable? It's a planning artifact that contains all relevant dependencies. Here's an example of a fully loaded deliverable: "Blueprint Approved by Customer." It's a comprehensive deliverable that moves us toward completion. We do not need to define every activity involved in this deliverable - we can we simply assign it to the right owner and give them the authority to get it done.