Put just before Content editable region

Purpose of an Operational Plan

Link between strategic and operational plansIt is important to understand the difference between an "operational plan" and a "strategic plan". The strategic plan is about setting a direction for the organisation, devising goals and objectives and identifying a range of strategies to pursue so that the organisation might achieve its goals. The strategic plan is a general guide for the management of the organisation according to the priorities and goals of stakeholders. The strategic plan DOES NOT stipulate the day-to-day tasks and activities involved in running the organisation.

On the other hand the Operational Plan DOES present highly detailed information specifically to direct people to perform the day-to-day tasks required in the running the organisation. Organisation management and staff should frequently refer to the operational plan in carrying out their everyday work. The Operational Plan provides the what, who, when and how much:

See also "The Role of the Manager in Operational Planning"

The difference between and operational and strategic plans

Strategic Plan Operational Plan

A general guide for the management of the organisation

A specific plan for the use of the organisation's resources in pursuit of the strategic plan.

Suggests strategies to be employed in pursuit of the organisation's goals

Details specific activities and events to be undertaken to implement strategies

Is a plan for the pursuit of the organisation's mission in the longer term (3 - 5 years)

Is a plan for the day-to-day management of the organisation (one year time frame)

A strategic plan enables management to formulate an operational plan.

An operational plan should not be formulated without reference to a strategic plan

The strategic plan, once formulated, tends not to be significantly changed every year

Operational plans may differ from year to year significantly

The development of the strategic plan is a responsibility shared and involves different categories of stakeholders.

The operational plan is produced by the chief executive and staff of the organisation.

The purpose of the Operational Plan is to provide organisation personnel with a clear picture of their tasks and responsibilities in line with the goals and objectives contained within the Strategic Plan.

Diagram showing that the operational plan starts where the strategic plan finishesBasically, the Operational Plan is a plan for the implementation of strategies contained within the Strategic Plan.

It is a management tool that facilitates the co-ordination of the organisation's resources (human, financial and physical) so that goals and objectives in the strategic plan can be achieved.

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