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Interview: A holistic approach to the strategic planning process
Read the full interview with Ken Dobie, Founder & Principal of Skyemar Consulting, Former Director, Corporate Planning & Portfolio Management, Illumina and gain the insight into the aligning strategic priorities to portfolio management and associated resources.
1) What is the checklist leading to a successful annual strategic plan?
The two most critical elements for a successful strategic plan are engagement by the senior management team and a central resource to plan and drive the process. The process should start with an executive off-site to discuss internal capabilities, gaps, road maps, competitive landscape, and financial plan in order to draft strategic top down guidance comprising corporate Mission, Strategies, External Analysis, Goals, Risks, and Three-Year Financial Model. Business Unit and Functional leads can then draft their own strategic plans comprising Overview, Vision, Markets & Competition, Strategies, Goals, Organization, Risks & Mitigation based on a common template and content guidance. The collective material can then be collated into an annual strategic plan document for review with the Board of Directors and distribution to senior management.
2) What are the key steps for successful prioritization?
As with strategic planning, the two most critical elements for successful project prioritization are engagement by the senior management team and a central resource to plan and drive the process. The process should start with each Business Unit preparing an overview of their respective market opportunities including competitive analysis, resulting in three-year new project road maps and recommendations for the top project priorities for the next year that will vie for investment and allocation of resources. This material is collated into a Platform Plan document for distribution to senior management and review of each plan to agree on priorities within and across business units. Resource forecasts are developed for prioritized projects and a down-selection process is conducted via a set of reviews with senior management and business unit leads to arrive at an efficient frontier of new projects with balanced resource supply and demand.
3) What are the main advantages of decentralized resource management?
Decentralized resource management puts forecasting and allocation in the hands of the people closest to the projects scope and needs – i.e., project leaders and functional managers. This should enable scalable and more accurate resource management as organizations grow. Decentralized resource management still requires quarterly portfolio prioritization by senior management and central governance (e.g., functional & senior management reports / database infrastructure improvements) from a PMO or another function such as Strategic Planning & Portfolio Management.
4) How to translate strategic priorities into actions that support cross-functional visibility and alignment?
Strategic priorities outlined in the strategic plan (3-yr view) are aligned with high level tactical goals in business unit and functional operating plans (1-yr view) including assignment of responsible individuals to goals in vertical organizations along with metrics, timelines, tactics, risks & mitigation. This enables the cascade of corporate strategies into corporate goals and subsequently into business unit and functional goals for the senior management team that can be communicated and cascaded deep into organizations.
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