In my experience business plans are often contrived at the start of the financial year and given little adherence until the next round of financial planning. In the meantime conditions have changed. Assumptions made in the plan no longer apply.
That’s why, says Tim Berry, it is important to plan as you go. You still need to develop a plan, but only plan as much as you’ll be able to use — and realise that plans will change so you need to adjust accordingly. It makes perfect sense, of course, yet many companies still slavishly follow a plan because it’s written down and that, somehow, makes it exempt from questioning.
It’s all covered in his book Plan-As-You-Go Business Planning. Practising what he preaches, the book is constantly updated online. And there’s the thing — with so many online collaborative tools available these days, every business should be finding ways of ensuring that their plan is constantly evolving, with inputs from across the organisation.
Hopefully this chat with Tim Berry (president and founder of Palo Alto software and co-founder of Borland) will get you started in a new direction.