Use this backward planning template as your personal time machine

Start with your vision of a perfect future, then work your way back to your current reality, step by step. Once you’ve seen your destiny, make it a reality.

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Backward planning template

Assemble the people that will help push you forward in this interactive backward mapping template.

One step backward, three steps forward

Picture exactly where you want to be, then worry about logistics like additional resourceswith this “work backwards” strategy.

Dream big: Come up with a common goal or ask an essential question that everyone can work toward and answer.

Filter out the fluff: Find out what’s essential in the planning process as you work towards your master plan and what you can live without.

Build a budget: Create your backwards design by determining which materials, resources, and collaborators you’ll need to achieve your learning objectives and ultimately your grand goal.

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Plan ahead with your partners and peers

Backwards mapping is better with your forward-thinking collaborators to achieve your desired result. Make sure everyone is on the same page about the assessment and the outcomes by inviting your whole team into an interactive FigJam whiteboard. Write or draw out your perfect world, then create it using widgets like Timeline, Linker, Teams, and more.

Understand your plan forward and backward

Free yourself from roadblocks and conjure up an ideal tomorrow. Proceed with the plan by leveraging more templates from the FigJam community.


The backward design approach involves starting at your endpoint, then working backward to figure out how you might get there. For example, if your goal is “Release a mixtape,” one step back from that might be “Submit my songs to streaming platforms.” Another step back would be “Design the album artwork.” Before that, you’d have “Record the music.” And so on and so forth—or so back this way. In this case, to gain additional knowledge about how the end result is initially achieved on a step-by-step basis.

To create your own backward map, start with a backwards planning template from FigJam. From there, invite all the relevant players into a room (real or virtual) and start jamming.

For more instructions and inspiration, check out our free working backwards examples.

Somewhat confusingly, the first step in the working backwards method is traditionally the last step of the journey: pinpoint your ultimate goal by asking essential questions. Don’t worry about how you’ll arrive there or even if it’s feasible to achieve. Simply close your eyes and envision your future—five, ten, or even twenty years down the line.

Working backwards is beneficial for several reasons. Here are a few advantages to consider:

- It eliminates the “how?” and “why?” questions that bog down strategic sessions

- It gives you a guiding purpose for everything you do

- It creates a clear path toward a goal that may have seemed unattainable

- It tells you what you need to do today to make it to your tomorrow

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