|Hundred Tips for a Better Management (Aga Khan Foundation, 1993, 70 pages)|
Plans are only good intentions, unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. Peter Drucker, Management Expert
[References - 17]
Most programmes fail, not because they were conceptually unsound, but because someone did a terrible job of planning.
Only rarely are poor decisions the result of too much planning.
The manager who makes on-the-spot decisions without a clear plan is saying, "I don't need a plan, I know what to do." That manager's ego has gotten in the way of an organisation's objectives, and failure is certain to follow.
Management planning is NOT complicated, but it can be tedious. That's why there is such a strong temptation to avoid it. The urge to do something, anything, is so strong that we often fail to define what we are trying to achieve before we begin. Don't let deadlines dictate your approach. It takes time to plan but it is time well spent.
Think of planning as a two-step process:
Analysis: first, you define in detail the objectives and the tasks needed to achieve those objectives,
Synthesis: second, you rank the sequence of the tasks in priority order
The first, and most important, step in planning is listing objectives. More objectives are better than few since they provide a more complete description of what you want to achieve.
Ranking, or setting priorities, is next. Everything cannot be done at once. Start with the most important tasks.
[References - 18]
Make your objectives Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic, and Time-bound S M A R T, i.e.,
Specific, so that everyone involved will
interpret them in the same way
Measurable, to monitor progress or evaluate performance
Appropriate, to your organisation's policies, goals, and strategies
Realistic, given the often limited amount of resources available, e.g., money, manpower, and materials
Time-bound, so resources can be allocated and activities can be planned to meet these objectives
[References - 19]
Good co-ordination involves getting the right things done, in the right place, at the right time, in the right way, by the right people. Activities which are planned in a disorganised or haphazard way often result in unnecessary or duplicated efforts that waste time and money.
You can avoid this pitfall by co-ordinating work and people so
things run smoothly. Begin by listing:
Then make sure that all this information is communicated to the people involved.
[References - 20]
It takes time to plan, but it is time well-spent. Too often we give in to pressure to "just do something!" People want to see results. But avoid taking action before you are ready. Make sure you know exactly what you want to achieve (your objectives), and how you are going to achieve it (your strategy). If you act before these two are clear, you run the risk of wasting time, resources, and possibly making a serious mistake.
[References - 21]
Only rarely are poor decisions and failures the result of too much planning. Usually they are due to managers saying "I don't need a plan; I can handle whatever develops."
[References - 22]
Being adequately prepared is the reward of careful planning.
But it is tedious and unglamorous work. That is why so many people avoid it and hurry through the planning process. Planning requires patience and careful attention to detail. Don' t rush it. But don't be afraid to call a halt to planning when you have enough information to make a decision.