Best Practice: Creating Your First Plan
  • 10 Mar 2023
  • 3 Minutes to read
  • Contributors

Best Practice: Creating Your First Plan

Article Summary

Creating a Plan

When you first create your new workspace, you'll land on your home page. You'll see areas for Plans, your Work, any notifications, and a list of your favorites.

To create a new plan, you can choose the 'Add new plan' icon right at the center, or use the blue plus sign in the top right corner, then select 'Add plan'.
Once you do this, you'll get a pop up that will allow you to fill out some options for your new plan.

add new plan

Plan name - fill in the title of your plan!
Parent plan - if this is your first plan, you don't need to fill out this field. When you add any additional plans, you'll be able to assign a parent plan that the new plan will nest underneath. This will come into play later when you check out the Alignment view!
Add team - you may not have a team in your workspace yet, but once you do, you can assign a team that will be the owners of this new plan.
Custom field template - later on, you'll have the opportunity to add custom fields to different items in your plans. This is where you'll assign a template to the plan!

Once you've filled out these options, click 'Save' to create your new plan!

What goes in a plan?

Once you create the new plan, you'll be able to populate it with goals!
If you don't have a plan, you can use one of our prebuilt templates from this library that will populate seamlessly into your workspace.
There are a few different pieces that make up plans in Cascade. We'll take a look at the Cascade strategy model now, but keep in mind that you can change this framework from your Admin → Strategy Model settings. You'll be able to select a different framework or customize your terminology.

If you're using the default strategy model, you'll have six different components to your strategy.

strategy model

Plan - a plan is the highest level of the strategy and will be a container holding focus areas and objectives.
Focus Area - a focus area is a high level category that provides context and organizes your objectives.
Objective - an objective is the description of a future state, or target, that your organization will reach by executing their strategy.
Project - a project is a collection of associated actions that summarizes the progress of multiple actions, and whose progress contributes to an objective.
Action - an action is a qualitative type of success criteria that contributes to an objective. It is a specific item that will be completed in order to work toward said objective.
Measure - a measure is a quantitative type of success criteria that contributes to an objective. It is a specific metric or KPI that tracks its progress from an initial to target value.

What makes a good plan?

The most successful plans contain the right ratio of focus areas, objectives, and collaborators! Here's what we've found to be the optimal balance:

  • No more than 3-5 Focus Areas per Plan-
    • If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority! The purpose of FOCUS Areas is to drive FOCUS, so you have to be selective in order for them to actually be useful.
  • No more than 8-10 Objectives per Plan-
    • If you have more than 8-10 Objectives in a given plan, some of the Objectives are probably too detailed for a plan at that level.
      In this case, best practice is to break your plan into a couple of sub-plans. Consider what key outcomes are best suited for the high level plan vs. which could live at the more granular team or initiative level plan. Create new plans and distribute the Objectives accordingly.
  • Average ratio of 8:1 collaborators to plans-
    • Given that plans should have no more than 8-10 Objectives in them, the ratio of active collaborators vs. plans should look similar.
      Maintaining this ratio will help keep the plans streamlined and digestible for the plan owners and associated teams contributing to them.

Note: You can create plans manually inside Cascade by adding objectives and success criteria, or you can bulk import a plan using the import tool. Find out how here. Or, start out with a template from our plan template library!

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