Having established exactly what we are going to do to convert our efforts into revenue, also identified what we need to do to enable delivery of our strategy – it is time to sit down with another latte and have a think about the daily tasks that are needed to make it all work.
Common sense tells us that at the beginning of our project there will be setup tasks, there will be structured trials and quite a bit of suck-it and see – so the tasks which enable the transition from nothing to something can be classified as the mobilisation phase. Then the daily tasks which follow to maintain delivery and develop the business can be classified as BAU – Business As Usual, or Day to Day Running. Don’t worry about Microsoft Project Licenses, for this kind of stuff nothing fancy is required.
My suggestion is to sip on that latte and then capture a chronological thought list including background, what you are trying to achieve, how you are going to achieve it ensuring capture of all inputs, outputs and risk analysis. At this point it will be good to create a few pages in Word, Powerpoint, Notes or use a blog to capture this strategic thinking.
After sleeping on it – come back and tweak, add bits until your whole strategy is captured forming a simple story-board. Read and re-read the story board, shuffle the order of the content to make it flow into a clear journey. At this point get the other half to have a read, as if what you are aiming to deliver and exactly how is clear to them then your strategy is likely to be at least logical. Following other half sign-off, share your strategy with any advisors in your midst. The more time invested in the strategy and the more it is reviewed and tweaked/updated, the more straight forward the journey business journey will be.
It is not an absolute requirement – but if you can transpose your strategy into a set of Microsoft Powerpoint, Open Office, or Keynote slides which take the reviewer on a journey and tell a real story which flows, the more meaningful the discussions you will be able to have and hence the more credible the strategy will be. After you have done this you need to ask yourself what you learned as if the answer is very little – you are either an expert and do not need my help, or you have not done it properly.
Having consumed many Latte’s, facilitated strategy reviews and satisfied yourself that you have thought of everything it is time to convert the strategic thinking into a list of tasks defining exactly what needs to be done, by who and when. This is the simple plan which will ultimately control the mobilisation and day to day running activity.
I suggest getting out your calendar and then open new spreadsheet. You are going to list all the tasks in the first column on the left and then if you feel like being creative you can create a few columns to contain additional information such as – who is responsible for the task, target dates, status indicator of some sort etc etc, then referring to the calendar create 365 columns/one for each day for a one year period.
Now you have the skeleton for the detailed control plan – now populate the plan to show exactly what needs to happen and when. You can change cell colours, you can use lines, objects and images to align with dates in the columns creating a detailed activity plan. If you keep the list on the left chronological, as you populate the plan you will be moving from left to right. Don’t forget the actions to address or mitigate any of the highlighted risks.
When you have finished you will have a spreadsheet which should format nicely into 1 or 2 x A3 pages. Now superimpose holidays and other significant events, moving the tasks around to make it workable. Don’t forget to include the one off repeating weekly, monthly tasks in addition to the mobilisation tasks. If you didn’t change anything, or move anything due to clashing tasks – then again it sounds like you do not need my help.
Once you have finished – gained other half sign-off, grab another Latte and set about transposing the contents of the plan into your online calendar such as Outlook, Lotus Notes, Google etc, in doing this you have created a detailed workload for your first year.
Preparing for Execution:-
Look at the plan and follow the timeline from beginning to end and list the key messages in chronological order. Now take this list of key messages and insert them into your strategy making it the 1st page/slide – this will be your executive summary. You will need to fine tune the strategy and the plan to ensure the journey flows logically. Now you are ready to action.