Operational planning is the process of planning strategic goals and objectives to tactical goals and objectives. It describes milestones, conditions for success and explains how, or what portion of, a strategic plan will be put into operation during a given operational period, in the case of commercial application, a fiscal year or another given budgetary term.
There is a difference between operational planning and strategic planning, which are compared below:
|Basis for Comparison||Strategic Planning||Operational Planning|
|Meaning||The planning for achieving the vision of the organization is Strategic Planning.||Operational Planning is a process of deciding in advance of what is to be done to achieve the tactical objectives of business?|
|Time Horizon||Long term planning||Short term planning|
|Modifications||Generally, the plan lasts longer||The plan changes every year|
|Performed by||Top level management||Middle level management|
|Emphasis||Planning of vision, mission and objectives||Planning the routine activities of the company|
Operational Planning is vital for the day-to-day running of any business, providing employees with a clear understanding of what is required of them within their individual responsibilities.
The operational plan assist employees in understanding what needs to be done, by whom, how it will be done and where. An operational plan also forms the basis for financial budget requests as well as deciding on timescales for events over the short, medium and long term.
Operational plans will usually contain several important points. My own organisations operational plan is very lengthy due to the nature of business, but contains clear objectives and quality standards. In addition, an operation plan should also contain:
- activities to be delivered
- desired outcome
- staffing and resource requirements
- implementation timetables
- a process for monitoring progress
I should be noted that operation planning should constantly consider the strategic planning of an organisation and not contradict it in any way.