Thursday, April 30, 2009

Strategic planning

19 out of 33 major strategic plans went off course, according to a 1984 Business Week survey. That must have been pretty discouraging for the international consultancies building a strategic planning business!

Does that mean we shouldn't plan strategically? Business Week clarified their claim in 2008.

I think planning is something we all do anyway, even if just going to Walmart to buy milk:
  1. Firstly, the reason for the journey (with its inevitable costs) has to outweigh the benefit of staying on the couch: we need to get a good answer to Why?
  2. Next, we need to know Where we're going. We can know this with GPS accuracy and beyond, down to a particular chiller cabinet at the back of the store. And where are we coming from?
  3. Only when we know where we're going from and to can we work on the next step, which is How. We can change the route, in the light of new information, even the 'method of transport', but the Why and Where don't ever change!
  4. Having worked on the How we can fill in the Who: we might need specialist skills (such as a helicopter pilot!) for parts of the journey.
  5. Finally, we can work on the When because the people involved in the project come with constraints on their availability!
So that's it, strategic project planning in a single blog post! What more is needed?!