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Developing an Operational Plan

An Operational Plan is the next step after a Strategic Plan has been created (see difference between strategic plan and operational plan).

operational planningThe task is to take every single strategy contained within the Strategic Plan and allocate resources, set a timeline and stipulate performance indicators.

Each of these elements is explained below:

Allocating Human Resources

Every strategy must have an "owner" i.e. somebody has to be responsible for that strategies implementation. If someone is not made responsible for the strategy, it is highly likely that it will not be implemented.

In the operational plan, the person responsible for the strategy is generally referred to by their JOB ROLE.

For example:

Strategy Person Responsible
Conduct series of three Clinics for Coaches Coaching Director

The strategy may be allocated to just one person, or to a group of people e.g. a team of people, a sub-committee or a department.

Allocating Financial Resources

Not every strategy requires money, but most will. If people have to be paid to do work, then there will be financial resources needed for remuneration. If volunteers are involved, money may be need to be set aside for food and/or other perks for them. Many strategies will involve administration costs in the form of telephone calls, printing and photocopying and postage. Some strategies will need purchases of equipment, or materials, or promotional costs such as advertising.

The point is that thought has to be given to all possible costs that might be incurred if a strategy is implemented. If there is an inadequate allocation of money for the implementation of a strategy, chances are it will fail.

Setting Timelines

The implementation of any strategy needs a timeline, that is a time period during which work is performed to achieve the desired outcome. The time period can be as short as a day, or it can be several months. The time period could be in the near future, or it might be scheduled for a future year.

The purpose of inserting a timeline for each strategy in the Operational Plan is to give order to the great many tasks that need to be done. There is always limited resources and therefore, at any given time, decisions need to be made as to priorities and where work effort should be focused. There is no use focusing work effort on strategies that don't need to be completed as yet while no work is performed on strategies that are urgent.

For example:

Strategy Timelines
Submit application for Government funding of new all weather pitch

Costing completed by 30 March 2013
Submit application by 30 June 2013

Set Performance Indicators

There are a number of reasons why it is a general practice of business planning to set performance indicators. The term 'performance indicator' may be defined as a standard or target that should be achieved. If the standard is reached or the target is achieved, then the strategy might be considered as "performed", in other words a success.

Go to more information about Performance Indicators

For example:

Strategy Performance Indicator
Conduct series of three Clinics for Coaches 20 coaches attending each
Host an Open Day 100 visitors from public


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