Feature Article: Planning essentials for RTOs

Planning essentials for RTOs

Planning is critical to your businesses success. Your RTO needs a road map that clearly defines its business goals, future direction and, most importantly, sets out a clear pathway of the tactics and strategies that will get you there.

“Plans are worthless but planning is everything” Dwight Eisenhower

Planning Framework:

There are three major types of planning generally used in business which includes strategic, operational, and tactical planning. A fourth type of planning, known as contingency planning, is an alternative course of action, often developed to explore and prepare for any eventuality. Contingency planning should be developed in conjunction with an organisation’s business continuity plan.

Your RTOs planning framework should provide a system for aligning priorities, making decisions, allocating resources, and measuring its impact. Outcomes of this approach should result in absolute clarity about your RTO’s mission, purpose, and direction; significant revenue and customer increases; value-based performance reviews; and increased engagement and satisfaction among staff.

Planning systems principles

A framework suited to businesses such as training organisations or educational institutions is one aligned to Hoshin Kanri planning principles. Hoshin planning consists of a seven-step cycle, beginning with high-level strategic objectives and ending with local-level improvement targets:

  1. Establish organizational vision
  2. Develop 3-5-year strategic plan
  3. Develop annual objectives
  4. Deploy to departments to develop plans including targets and means
  5. Implementation
  6. Regular progress reviews monthly and quarterly
  7. Annual review

The principles of the PDCA continuous improvement cycle are heavily embedded into the Hoshin planning process.

Planning Documents:

There are different types of plans and planning tools commonly used in business that differentiate between an organisations long term, short term and operational objectives:

Strategic Plan

A strategic plan provides the framework to communicate your RTOs organisational goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals and includes a vision statement; a mission statement; and details on when the plan will be reviewed and updated. It is the CEO’s responsibility to make sure that changing conditions (both external and internal) are reflected in the RTOs long-term or strategic plan. The larger and more complex the RTO, the larger and more complex the strategic plan will be to include all of the individual departments and functions.

Operational Plans

An operational plan sets out the tasks that your RTO  needs to perform in order to reach a certain outcome. It is a blueprint of sorts, aligned with the objectives outlined in your RTOs strategic plan. Different managerial levels have responsibility for implementing different types of short-term or operational plans. Essential short-term plans for RTOs include validation plans, industry engagement plans or resource development plans as they define specific objectives critical to your business operations.

Team Plans

A team plan  identifies the contribution the team will achieve to your RTOs operational plan. By aligning the team plan to the operational plan, you can ensure their performance can be directed to ensuring they achieve the goals in the operational plan.

Individual Plans

An Individual plan links your RTOs objectives to those of the individual.

Project Management Planning: 

Many RTOs neglect implementing formal project management processes within their business. Project based management is a generic skill required of all managers. Projects are a temporary organisation where resources are assembled to do work and to deliver a result or asset. Documenting your goals, identified risks, roles, timeframes and deliverables in project plans allows project managers clear oversight of resources allocated. Failure to deliver the desired product or service occurs when businesses have inadequate systems in place for planning and executing of projects.

References: 

https://ssir.org/articles/entry/five_essentials_of_strategic_planning

https://www.myogsm.com/6-popular-strategic-planning-frameworks/

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_77.htm

https://www.business.govt.nz/risks-and-operations/planning-for-the-unexpected-bcp/continuity-and-contingency-planning/

https://blog.trello.com/5-common-project-management-mistakes-and-fixes

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