Using the author's experience as the coordinator of the Canadian Agriculture Lifetime Leadership programme as a case study, this article provides an interpretive essay about programme planning in adult education. Two conceptual frameworks are used to structure narratives of the programme planning process. The first asserts that programme planning is the rational application of a six-step decision-making model. The second claims that programme planning is the political negotiation of personal and organizational interests. Through two autobiographical narratives, this article explores how technical-rational and political models of programme planning further our understanding of adult education practises. In addition to contributing a detailed case study to the literature on programme planning, the article speaks to contemporary empirical and normative debates in adult education.