Monday, 13 December 2010

Planning for 2011

This week I am preparing to go on holiday - 2 weeks on a beach in Thailand, so plenty of time to think about the future and plan the next steps for Maven. Like many senior managers I need to ensure I know three key pieces of operational information:
• What are all the initiatives that we have completed this year and what has been their effect? I need to know what capability we have now, what areas of the business we have improved, what areas we have strengthened. Knowing this enables me to eliminate them to an extent from next years’ plans, which for a company as ambitious as Maven is really important as we always have more ideas than we have resources for.
• What initiatives do we still have underway, how near to completion are they and how many resources are they using? This helps me understand our capacity for new ideas and hopefully stops me falling into the trap of trying to launch all of the new initiatives in January, overloading the business with change in February and driving everyone crazy by March!
• Finally I review our strategic goals and use these as the basis for identifying the key areas for development and improvement, and then I break these down again into outcomes (programmes) and outputs (projects). This analysis is undertaken with my management team and we run our own portfolio management workshop to identify as many ideas for the next year as possible. Some of the techniques that we use to plan the portfolio of all our projects and programmes are the same as the techniques we use for project management I.e. Product based planning, activity based planning, scheduling and resource smoothing. I will run this workshop before I go away and then I can review our plans and finesse the for early January.

Wish me luck and let me know what you are doing to plan your work for 2011.

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