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How to Plan for a Successful 2017

Nov 16, 2016

Written by: Shawn Sweeney

Whether you are a Fortune 500 Company or a business with three employees, thinking about what the company needs to accomplish in the next year is one of the most important activities for management. Ideally, this activity is completed and communicated in the months leading up to the new fiscal year so performers can hit the ground running on Day 1. At Spinnaker, we call this Strategic Planning and follow three straight-forward steps:

  •  Capture intent: Working backwards from your organization's goal(s), identify the set of projects or business capabilities that are required to meet year-end objectives. A common challenge here is the sheer number of projects – we often see 3-4 times the demand for the available budget/resources available. To pare down the list, work with other leaders to prioritize the subset that will have the greatest impact on the bottom line. Don’t forget to make room for important compliance, operational efficiency and IT infrastructure related-projects.
  •  Size the work: First, ensure leaders provide details about each project – it’s impossible to size an effort with a three-word description! Then gather experts from across the organization to talk about the relative effort to deliver each project/business capability. Here, you’ll have to make some assumptions to keep the conversation high-level focusing on areas that are the most constrained in terms of how the widgets are made in your company.
  •  Scenario Plan: In larger companies, P&L owners tend to solve “vertically” for their businesses. The underlying infrastructure and delivery team, however, is shared across the company. Providing a few scenarios (projects and delivery timing that fit within the budget) for leaders helps shift the conversation and solve for the overall company’s objectives and optimize for available budget/resources. Once a scenario is chosen, the resulting set of projects & capabilities becomes the “roadmap” for the next year.

Strategic Planning is one of the most important activities for business leaders. The resulting “roadmap” will drive alignment throughout the entire organization as to what teams should be working on…it also highlights what the company should not be working on for the year.