Complex planning processes like strategic planning and business planning but also other long and middle term planning processes require that you do some preparatory work.
- Review successes and failures of the most recent plan
- Analyze the current situation
- Make a number of upfront decisions
The preparatory work serves to create the conditions for conducting these processes successfully.
The following three preparatory steps describe activities that could be relevant during the preparatory stage. You will have to decide for each individual case what will be relevant.
Step 1: Reviewing progress since the last planning process
- Where did we succeed? How did we achieve it?
- Where did we fail? What were the reasons?
Step 2: Analyzing the current situation
- Financial, human and other resources (quality, quantity) needed
- Availability of internal resources
- External funding sources that might support the planning process
- What do they expect?
- How do they cooperate?
- What are their problems?
- What are critical issues inside the organization?
- Which threats and risk do we face in the external environment?
- What are we good at?
- What are our weaknesses?
Existing strategic framework
- Vision statement
- Mission statement
- Core values
- Strategic goals and objectives
Step 3: Making upfront decisions
Senior management will have to decide:
- What internal resources it will make available
- Whether the organization will apply for external support
- When to start and end the planning process
- Whether the process will be conducted only by internal staff or the organization will also use external help (volunteers, paid experts)
- Who should participate
- What should be achieved at the end of the planning process in order to consider it a success
Guide to further reading (available online)
J.Shapiro, Overview of Planning, at: http://www.civicus.org/news-and-resources/toolkits/226-planning-overview