Create a Plan: Quick bytes
  • 19 Jul 2023
  • 4 Minutes to read
  • Contributors

Create a Plan: Quick bytes

Article Summary

Now that we've seen intensive details on strategy model, terminologies, plans, before you think it's all so damn hard, let me just break down the complex part of strategy planning into a very simple one! 

Do not let all the terminologies daunt you! Its the concepts that're more important. All you just need to understand is what they each mean! 

Let's consider an example of a bike manufacturer whose strategic plan we're going to build!

Plan Details: Just as the name of each entity says, it is just all it is! Give it a relevant title, optimistic due dates, and add collaborators, and you're on!

  • Focus Areas: High-level categories that groups your objectives or outcomes. These can be 
    • Aggressive Growth
    • Top Place to work
    • Best-in-class Bike Manufacturer
    • Sustainability and Adaptability, and so on.
  • Objectives: These're the outcomes that you wish and work for! Let's just consider "Aggressive Growth" focus area. The objectives under this can be
    • Grow in a healthy and sustainable manner
    • Achieve ARR of 30m
    • Blow away the competition
    • Increase market share, and so on. 

You can evaluate the success of these objectives using

  • Actions: Specific tasks to do in order to achieve the objectives. Let's consider the objective "Grow in a healthy and sustainable manner"! The actions can be
    • Adoption of EV in fleet transmissions
    • Increase investment in innovation on non-fossil fuel dependencies and internal combustion engine offerings
    • Aim for water positive certification in a few manufacturing units
    • Expand in Electric Vehicles segment and offer its services in global market, and so on.
  • Measures: Key performance indicators (KPIs), or metrics, that explicitly measure whether or not you actually achieved the Objectives. Let's consider the objective "Grow in a healthy and sustainable manner"! The measures can be
    • Sustainable overall spend (in %)
    • Number of electric operated bikes
    • Reduction in Carbon footprint
    • Percentage of electric fleet (cargo) for transportation, and so on.
  • Projects: A group of actions executed to achieve the desired outcome. Projects have "actions" nested underneath them with owners/collaborators and due dates for each action. Let's consider the objective "Grow in a healthy and sustainable manner"! The project and the associated actions can be
    • Project: Enable ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) parameters to grow sustainably
      • Action: Explore and implement ESG parameters in policies and operations
      • Action: Increase dependency on alternate fuels
      • Action: Implement community outreach and welfare programs
  • Nested or low-level objectives: These are low level or granular objectives added as success criteria to the parent or high level objective. The nested objectives for the objective "Grow in a healthy and sustainable manner" can be
    • Expand with mergers and acquisitions
    • Research into more sustainable projects
    • Implement Equipment as a service (EaaS) in the business model
  • Contributing Objectives: These are linked objectives that impact the success. The contributing objectives (which are in other plans or focus areas) for the objective "Grow in a healthy and sustainable manner" can be
    • Include sustainability as a facet in supply-chain operations
    • ESG compliances
    • Transport to be carbon-neutral

In a nutshell, these will help your team to focus on executing their plans:

  • Objectives are simple, clear, and have a specific outcome
  • Actions are specific tasks that help you get there
  • Measures are quantitative, time-bound KPIs
  • Projects are group of actions with individual owners, collaborators and deadlines to achieve those outcomes.

This is it! Hope you got an idea of what it is! Now just open Cascade in an other tab, take some inspiration from here, and start strategizing!!


When to use actions and projects? Can we use them alternatively?

Actions are specific tasks tracked with milestones, checklists, manually or connected with project management tools like Jira, MS Projects, Trello, ClickUp, etc. But these cannot be assigned to different owners and collaborators for each milestone or checklist items!

If you wish to have multiple actions to achieve the objective that's defined, then its ideal to have projects. You can then create actions nested under it, assigned to different owners and collaborators with targets and deadlines! These individual actions can then have any type of tracking defined.

When to use objectives and projects?

Objectives are the highest level of your strategy and these define the outcomes that you wish to achieve! The success of these objectives can be quantified with the measures added to them along with actions and projects.

Projects are merely entities that're contributing to the success of those objectives. They do not have measures to quantify their success and just has a group of actions or tasks that'll help to work towards achieving the outcomes or objectives!

In other words, Projects come in handy when you're looking at breaking down large pieces of work to small, executionable actions. These are nested below the objectives and contribute to the health of that objective, and thereby to the plan! These projects can have actions that can be assigned to different owners. For example, if your objective is "Lead to shift towards an electrical and autonomous mobility", the project can be "Research and onboard", and the actions underneath this can be "Hire best-in class talent", "Research for AI advancements", "Form a core team", "Implement technological advancements in electric mobility", and so on.

When to use nested, contributing and shared objectives?

These're all just how objectives relate to a plan and other objectives!

  • A "nested" objective is a regular objective that's a granular version of the high level objective, thereby making these outcomes more focused  and actionable. Use them to break a complex objective (in terms of scope, complexity) into more granular versions so that it can be executed by specific individuals and contained within a specific plan and team.
  • A "contributing" objective is a regular objective that's linked from another plan or focus area of the same plan. Use them when you want to connect different objectives from different plans or teams together and establish a one-to-many relationship to impact health tracking.
  • A "shared" objective is a regular objective that's shared with different plans when people want to collaborate on the same outcome. Use them only if its ok for the users in other plan in which its shared to see all the objective's success criteria.

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