Everyone in the project management world wants their project to be the most significant success in the market. They want the project to generate more value and increase the recognition of their company.
But that project success is not earned that easily.
The project managers have quite an effective way to achieve that success, called an operational plan.
This operational plan is so essential that if you don’t have one, your team members can quickly lose sight of the different tasks and schedules they have to manage.
Also, the budgets related to the project development process can quickly skyrocket because there are no boundaries, resulting in pandemonium.
So, to stop that from happening and achieve project success without any issues, you need to have an operational plan in place.
If you are looking for more information about operational planning, you came to the right place because, in this article, we will talk about what operational planning is, how you can create one for your project and its benefits.
What is Operational Planning?
An operational plan is a piece out of the entire company-wide strategic playbook in which the future strategies related to the project, the related budgets, and the proposed goals and milestones are mapped out.
It also features the team-based activities that will be performed in the next 1-3 years, depending on the needs and requirements of the company.
One thing to note is that the project managers’ operational plans work best when an entire department gets on board and uses those plans to assign due dates, report issues, and measure goals for success.
These plans work even better when there’s proper communication between different departments to ensure that the whole company and its processes work smoothly.
Benefits of Operational Planning
Here are some of the benefits that operational planning provides to its users.
- An operational plan clarifies the tasks and processes that the entire project development team will perform daily and weekly.
- This plan provides a more comprehensive guide on the daily operations that the project development team members need to keep track of to accomplish their goals.
- It also sets a generic benchmark for the daily expectations of the project development team members so that they don’t get derailed from their path.
Let’s now move on to how you can create an operational plan for your project and achieve project success easily and effectively.
Creating an Operational Plan
As we know that operational plans are put in place to allocate different resources, staff, and project-related funds for each 1–3 year time period that we discussed above.
Keeping that in mind, here are the steps on which the whole operational plan is based.
- Visualizing the Operational Plan
- Researching and Identifying Goals
- Assigning Resources and Budget
- Generating a Report on the Operational Plan
- Make Changes in the Plan as per the Requirements
Let’s discuss these steps in detail and find out how you can create an operational plan based on them.
1. Visualizing the Operational Plan
As with anything in the project management world, you need to envision the project plan that you are going to create.
You need to understand that the main features that an operational plan has, help to begin the research phase. These main features include:
- Tasks to achieve defined goals
- Managing the working staff to make sure that they are functioning at the top of their game
One of the best approaches to envisioning a project plan is to have a project management application like nTask that can create Gantt charts for you. These Gantt charts can help you create a project schedule and a proper view of performance and progress.
nTask is an incredible project management and task management software that can help you create different Kanban boards and Gantt charts to help envision the operational plan.
2. Researching and Identifying Goals
The second step in creating an operational plan is to research and identify the milestones and the goals that you have to achieve regarding the project development process in question.
These goals that you have to highlight address five very important questions:
- What is the exact budget of the whole operation and whether or not it is feasible in comparison to last year?
- Where does your project development team want to be in the following years?
- What benchmarks are needed to measure the progress we are making regarding the project development process?
- Where is the team right now regarding the whole project development process and the elements connected to the development of said process?
- How do the project managers and the company get the project development team where they want them to be?
3. Assigning Resources and Budget
Once the milestones and goals have been mapped out, you need to understand that the budget of the operational plan you created will come out from your department’s yearly budget.
So, with that in mind, you can assign tasks to the relevant people that are in your team, manage different resources and allocate the appropriate budget for the team members.
4. Generating a Report on the Operational Plan
Once you are done mapping out your operational plan for the team, which should include clear objectives with timetables, goals, deliverables, and staff necessary to achieve the plan in mind, you should build out a precise process that will generate reports for you as the plan progresses.
You need to generate these reports as the stakeholders connected to the project, the other department heads that are connected to it, and the upper management will want to know how things are going.
5. Make Changes in the Plan as per the Requirements
The last thing you need to do is make sure that your operational plan is flexible. This is crucial because if your project plan is not adjustable and there are changes to be done in the later stages of the project, your whole structure can fail, and that’s not good for anyone.
When you know that your plan is flexible, you need to ensure that you get feedback from all the relevant stakeholders connected to the project.
When you do that, you make sure that they are happy that you include them in the development phase, but also, the upper management won’t interfere with your work when things go south or if things are not done in a certain way.
Who Manages the Operational Plan?
Normally the middle management of the company manages the operational plan that the company put forward. This is the norm because they are the best at managing and implementing the necessary things to the operational plan without any hurdles or issues.
This was our guide on operational planning that you can use in 2023. So, if you want to create one or just want to know what it is and what the benefits are attached to it, this is the guide for you.