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ModelingHard surface topology and re-topology--- when and how do you plan, and/or adjust on the fly?

Looking over a recent piece, I see that, esp since it's been a while, I'm solving a lot 'down the road' and this is causing some --- ugly? topology issues. Not every mesh can be beautiful in wireframe, but I am always aware that topology gets scrutinized at times, even outside of sub-d requiring pipelines etc.

It rears its head the most these days when having to cut openings into forms that have to have a certain flow to them, and cutting, routing edges, tying down corners etc and not letting edge loops just run off on you... this mostly after a key shape has been built up to the point where damn, a major overhaul would be a major overhaul, so I live with the cuts and funk. Some shapes are enough to cause issues on their own, then surgery can make them worse, give you rendering artifacts, all the garbage. Edges terminate in odd places to not interfere with something downstream, openings have edge pinching, odd face count balances, etc etc etc etc...

How do you plan out what your solutions are going to be for simple and complex before it causes a 'back to day one' rework?

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