According to data from the Project Management Institute (PMI), at least 40% of the ideal project life-cycle consists of planning!
Yet in too many instances, and often with good intentions such as ‘zeal for getting started quickly,’ people fail to effectively plan their improvement efforts.
As a result, if strategic plans do not deliver expected results it leaves senior leaders wondering what happened — was it a flawed strategy or poor execution?
To be successful, strategic planning requires a mix of imagination and realism — often referred to as Imagineering. Imagination to describe an innovative product or service, or a way to market for which there is little or no competition, and realism to make sure that there is a practical way of executing the strategy — i.e., engineer it back to reality.
Other steps for effectively crafting a strategic plan before launching an improvement project include:
- Assess current reality and opportunities, both external and internal
- Develop and communicate mission and vision
- Define the gaps between “is” and “needs to be” and set the right goals
- Develop, assess and select strategic alternatives
- Compare best practices to ensure the strategy can be executed
- Convert strategy into action, using strategy maps and a balanced scorecard
- Launch and build high performance teams and work groups to execute the strategy