In my previous blog (Strategic Planning 101—Prioritizing Objectives), strategic objectives were narrowed to a “Priority List” of 5 objectives that the organization can begin to implement. In this blog, I will focus on implementing the 5 priority objectives.
Before the 5 objectives can be implemented, an Action Plan must be in place for each objective. The primary components of each action plan include:
Who is responsible for implementing the objective? This will be the person responsible for managing the project to closure, a project manager or business owner.
Who is the stakeholder? The primary stakeholder can be internal (within the organization) or external to the organization.
What are the high level actions to be taken to meet the objective? List 3 to 5 specific high-level actions that will be taken to accomplish the objective. Do not go in to specific detail, as that will be further defined below. For each action item, assign a responsible person to complete the action item, define a due date, and the status of this action.
What is the estimated cost of implementation? Derive an estimated cost to implement the objective, for now it needs to be a rough estimate for budgeting purposes.
What is the schedule to implement? Create a high level schedule of how long it will take to implement this objective, this can be by duration or specific start and end dates.
How will the objective be measured for success? Generate a sentence or bullet points that will let all stakeholders know that if these measures are met and if the project is successful.
A good way to develop your action plan is to create a simple table with answers to each of the above questions to visualize how each priority objective will be accomplished. This process should be completed with the strategic planning group still assembled from the previous step.
Each of these objectives/Action Plans can and should become projects in which industry best practices such as Project Management Institute (PMI) methodologies are used to ensure the project follows a well proven path to success. The Action Plan and all of it’s components are then further broken down into very specific activities and requirements by the assigned team. In order for the action plan to be successful, senior management needs to make a commitment to the project and it’s success metrics.
After one Action Plan is complete, go back to the priority list and select another objective to implement. The entire strategic planning process should be revisited every 3 to 5 years as the economy and industry changes.
As I mentioned in my first blog (Strategic Planning 101 – taking the first step), this process can take some organizations a year or longer while others as short as 3 days to complete. I hope you find the process simple to implement, it doesn’t require a lot of paper work but it does require commitment. I leave you with a question, can your organization afford not to strategize in an ever changing environment?