Strategy without Execution is just a dream. Resource Planning ensures that we have the people needed to deliver on our Strategy.
From Strategy to Execution
Harvard Business Review reported that, on average, companies deliver about 63% of the financial results that their strategies promise. How can that be? We have such wonderful, mature strategic planning tools. How can we not deliver the results?
The answer is simple. Execution. Great execution of a mediocre strategy will always deliver far better results than poor execution of a great strategy.
Strategy Management represents the marriage of strategy and execution. I’ve been using, and refining, an 8-Step Strategy Management process for more than 20 years.
Our previous four articles explained some fantastic strategic planning processes. Those represent the Strategic Planning steps of our Strategy Management process.
Now, we will shift our focus to the Execution steps of the Strategy Management process. The first of those is ensuring that we have the right resources to even execute our plan.
We defined our strategic objectives, set measurable goals for them, and came up with action plans to deliver on those commitments. Many organizations stop there and begin to execute their action plans.
Six months later, they realize they don’t have enough people, or the right people, to execute all of those projects. One person is scheduled out to 100 hours a week. Another has numerous projects with simultaneous deliverables. The challenges go on and on.
It’s no wonder companies deliver only 63% of what they promise!
What if we could prioritize our Action Plans during the strategic planning process? Maybe rank them high to low by Return on Investment (ROI). And then assign the project team to each action plan.
But let’s go a step further. Not everybody can devote 100% of their time to strategic initiatives. The customer service agent still needs to take calls. The programmers still have software maintenance and bug fixes.
So, let’s determine how much time each person has available. What percent of their time can each person work on strategic projects? Translate that into hours per year.
Next, start allocating people to projects. If you don’t have an enterprise portfolio management system, you can actually do this in a spreadsheet. When we exceed a person’s available hours, we turn the spreadsheet cell, and all that follow, red. The visual tells us that this person is over-allocated.
When we run out of a resource, but still have projects that need him or her, we have the option of adding a contractor or outsourcing. If we add those expenses and still have a favorable ROI, we keep going.
Eventually, we run out of resources. Since we prioritized the projects by ROI, we only have the lowest ROI projects left when we do run out of people.
Our final step is to identify the projects that we can’t resource and remove the associated action plans from our Balanced Scorecard. That means that we will also need to adjust the goals, which may ripple all the way up to our financial outcomes.
Top Down and Bottom UP
Strategy Management is a top-down and bottom-up process. We define our objectives, goals, and action plans. Then we resource those plans and work our way back up. We adjust the action plans, goals, and sometimes even the strategic objectives.
This resourcing exercise ensures that we can actually execute our plan.
There is no reason to deliver only 63% of promised results if we take the time to resource our projects and make the necessary adjustments to our strategic plan.
The Marriage of Strategy and Execution
This article shows the transition from strategic planning to execution. Resource planning puts a reality check on our strategy and allocates people to projects so we can execute the strategy.
The next articles will describe how to manage employee performance in alignment with your strategy, how to be very transparent in the execution of the strategy, and how to effectively communicate to the company, executive team, and board. And all of that earns IT the trust, credibility, and respect to navigate along the IT Value Journey.
As always, if you want to know more, or just can’t wait for the next articles, email Emily at Emily@WolffStrategy.com and she’ll be happy to schedule a call with me.
Larry Wolff is the founder & CEO of Wolff Strategy Partners, a boutique consulting firm specializing in Enterprise Strategy Management and Digital Transformation. Larry has served as CEO, COO, CIO, chief digital officer, and management consultant for public, private, international and emerging growth companies. His specialties include corporate and IT strategic planning, technology led business transformation, business and IT turnarounds, merger integration and large-scale project rescues.