The principles of project management have changed relatively little in recent years and, despite this, there is still the inconsistent application of the necessary practices. The key aspect in this process is consistency; achieving a goal (whether business or personal) is a commitment that must be taken seriously; otherwise, there is no point in setting them in the first place. Aaron Rodriguez, a business plan implementation expert with extensive experience in resource optimization, provides detailed information on what is required to achieve SMEs’ strategic objectives.
Strategic objectives should be an intermediate step between the organization’s vision and mission. They should be defined in a clear, precise, and understandable way, and should express the ultimate and most important goals that will enable the organization to move towards its corporate mission and vision. Rodriguez points out, “Offering a service or selling a product requires different processes that ensure consistency at all levels; however, it is recommended that they be flexible for better performance. Many companies fail to improve their processes, as they are seen as a recipe to be followed to the letter and not as key points to ensure quality and efficiency.”
A process is a succession of tasks and decisions that are linked together to transform an investment (of time or resources) into a service or product. Processes are made up of different aspects that are of great relevance when it comes to understanding them. First of all, they must be definable. This means that they must be documented, with established measurements. A Project Manager can help you in the clear definition of the tasks.
Processes must be strictly repeatable. A process is a sequence of activities; when planning those activities, they must be communicated, understood, and executed consistently by the work teams. They also need to be predictable. They need to develop stability to ensure that the planned activities are executed consistently to achieve the expected results. And finally, it is of great importance that the processes are measurable. Measurements ensure the quality of all activities to be performed, as well as their results.
The presence of people with good skills is paramount to the fulfillment of a company’s strategic objectives. Rodriguez adds, “Every organization is made of people; robots are not that smart yet. People create for other people. If you don’t accept that what sustains any business system are humans, it will hardly affect a positive change in your industry and for your customers.”
Strategic planning is the starting point for creating a plan to follow. For people to do this, they must have a common point to follow, which is based on mission and vision. The mission relates to the focus on what your company does and what makes it different from your competitors. While the vision indicates how you see your company today and what is the ideal scenario in which your company develops and creates a benefit for your customers.
In order for the above elements to work correctly, it is necessary to carry out several analyses of the environment, the competitor, the scenario, and the forecast of results. These analyses are part of all strategic planning and, once covered, they lead to the correct setting of strategic objectives for a company, regardless of its line of business.
Planning times vary according to the proposed strategy, but it is worth noting that they are usually divided into short (one year), medium (up to three years), and long (more than three years) terms. The three main tools needed to perform these analyses and set objectives at different timeframes are key pieces to complete the puzzle.
To begin with, there are the manuals. These documents enable coordination and communication and allow the organization’s information to be recorded and documented in an orderly fashion. There are several types of manuals, including operations manuals, departmental manuals, quality manuals, and organizational manuals.
Benchmarking is a crucial tool, as well. It is used to find the best characteristics and processes of a product or service and use these values as a parameter to improve your company’s products, processes, and services. Normally, the company is compared against the industry leader to give value to the comparison.
And finally, a SWOT analysis is never too much. It is the name given to an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that can influence the achievement of your objectives. It is a tool that allows you to make a diagnosis of the current situation of the object of study that allows you to make decisions in accordance with policies and objectives.