Operational Planning

Operational planning definition.

What does operational planning mean? Operational planning creates a detailed roadmap based on a strategic plan.The operational plan aligns timelines, action items and key milestones that finance or the business needs to complete to execute on the strategic plan. In this way, an operational plan outlines the organization’s key objectives and goals and clarifies how the organization will achieve them.

During the operational planning process, finance or the business responsibilities are described in detail based on the timeline for the operational plan. The timeframe should depend on typical organizational velocity; creating an annual operational plan is a fluid, changing process, so keeping clarity and collaboration is vital for success.

A well-conceived business operational plan keeps team members collaborating smoothly, ensures everyone knows what needs to be done and what their part in it is, and guides critical decisions about long-term strategy.

Key steps of operational planning

What Is Operational Planning?

What is operational planning for finance or the business? Operational planning is the result of a team or department working to execute a strategic plan. It is a future-oriented process that maps out department goals, capabilities, and budgets to promote the success of team-based activities designed to support the strategic plan.

Operational business plans are most effective when there is buy-in from the entire team or department, ensuring issues are reported, goals identified and timelines get delivered,, and business collaboration is more effective. When communication across finance and the business exists, operational plans work even more efficiently to ensure that the entire organization reaches its goals.

An example of operational planning would be a manufacturer creating a plan to increase revenue by 30%. Finance partners with sales, the marketing team, operations and other key business areas to align on the strategies needed to support revenue growth and achieve business goals together. Another operational planning example might be a brand looking to introduce a new product. It would need to leverage and expand existing capabilities, harness new tools, and create a roadmap for doing so.

Other operational planning examples in management include mapping business or production output to meet other new goals, planning for new or expanded solutions, sales and operational planning, providing a roadmap or increased clarity surrounding business goals, or creating a strategy for increased business partnership.

Strategic Planning vs Operational Planning

There is a difference between strategic planning, tactical planning, and operational planning. However, strategic, tactical, and operational planning need to be considered together and build upon one another.

What is a strategic plan?

A strategic plan describes the high-level goals, long-term vision, and organizational mission, usually over the next three to five years. It also details the major projects or initiatives that will happen to meet them, and how the organization will measure the goals, broadly. This is a big picture view of goals, but it can’t really show a team how to achieve those goals step-by-step.

What is an operational plan ?

An operational plan (also known as an operations plan, work plan, or operation plan) is a detailed outline of what a team or department will focus on in the immediate future—typically within the upcoming year. The operational plan answers questions about things like weekly goals and tasks, such as what they are generally, what they will achieve, who will do them, and how often.

What is a tactical plan?

Tactical planning is a step organizations or teams sometimes take after they create strategic and operational plans. The idea is to break the plans into smaller goals and objectives, to define them and determine which steps and actions will be most effective in achieving them. In other words, the operational plan may just have set a goal or task for person A about goal 1, but a tactical plan might set forth the detailed steps person A will need to execute every week.

Tactical planning and operational planning differ in the kinds of questions they ask. Operational plans ask how the team should do something so they can both adhere more broadly to the organizational mission and specific strategic goals. Tactical plans ask specific questions about how to accomplish strategic and operational goals. They are the most microscopic version of planning.

In summary, a strategic plan is a business-level, long-term strategy plan over the next three to five years. It is a visionary plan, the big picture. Its focus is not on implementation. An operational plan is smaller in timeline and both scope, and the goal of operational planning is both to describe a more granular view of how to achieve strategic goals and to focus on implementation in the form of weekly actions, specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), etc. A tactical plan is the narrowest view that is focused on implementation only, and things like daily tasks for one person or a small team and smaller goals.

Strategic and operational planning work together; operational planning is an important part of a whole strategy. Tactical planning helps teams achieve their strategic and operational planning goals.

The goal of an operational plan is to give particular tasks to specific departments, not the company as a whole, whereas it is strategic vs operational planning that sets forth long-term goals for the next three to five years.

What is the Operational Planning Process?

Going through the operational planning cycle, keep these best practices and operational planning techniques in mind.

Research and Identify Goals

The goal of an operational plan and its creation process should be to address some foundational questions:

Ask team members the questions, and prioritize responses based on how difficult they are to execute, and how critical.

Visualize the Operational Plan

Make sure the vision for the plan is clearly articulated. Clearly defined goals, charts and visualizations, and project management software can help offer a high-level view of tasks and progress for all stakeholders. Identify which operational business planning techniques and tools will work best for achieving the organization’s goals.

Assign People and Budget

The budgeting process in operational planning consists of assigning tasks and allocating resources and budget for team members to complete them. Each piece of the budget should map out to a financial goal in the operational plan with corresponding timetables and deliverables.

Tracking and Informing Progress

Build out a reporting process that corresponds to the clear objectives with goals, targets, deliverables, resource allocation, and timetables in the operational plan. This way the stakeholders can report progress as the plan moves forward.

Adjust the Operational Plan as Needed

A well-conceived operational plan should allow you to understand precisely which activities and aspects of the plan failed to perform. This in turn allows the team to pivot, involve new team members as needed, and continue to the next benchmark with a refined operational plan.

Consider the Right Indicators

Use key performance metrics or indicators that are predictive, not just lagging indicators. You need some lagging indicators such as past sales or attendance figures, but leading indicators such as market trends should also contribute to both reporting progress and adjusting the operational plan.

What Should Operational Planning Include?

Approaches to operational planning vary, but each team has as its main objective producing a functional operational plan that reflects a practical approach to the organization’s mission and strategic plan.

What should an operational plan include? This strategic document should plan all of the daily processes and operations that a business and its teams or departments including marketing, recruitment, and finance need to do to achieve company goals.

A well-defined operational plan should ensure that each manager and employee understands what their specific responsibilities are, and how and when to execute them.

The operation plan itself should have several components:

What are the Steps in Operational Planning?

The purpose of the operational planning process is not to generate new goals or plans, but to create an operational plan in support of existing strategic goals:

Start with a strategic plan

Create the strategic plan first. Before considering immediate tasks and day-to-day details, it’s important to see the long-term vision and goals. As the leadership team creates the strategic plan, they determine the position of the organization and develop its strategy. They should also monitor the strategic plan, and adjust it as needed.

Sharpen the scope

Narrow the scope of the operational plan to a department, team, or focus area to ensure it is detail-oriented and targeted. The size of the organization determines the scope of your operational plan. In other words, you start big with the strategic plan, and then narrow down to the operational plan and the focus area of the team who will execute it—and then create various supporting action plans for execution.

Identify key stakeholders

Identify stakeholders in the operational planning process before creating an operational plan. The team members who create the operational plan should lead and inform others around the operational plan, so you’ll need to know who they are before execution.

Create the operational plan

Your operational plan sets forth the timeframe, the goals to achieve, and explains the actions the team will take to achieve those goals on time. It must include objectives, deliverables, quality standards (if any), desired outcomes, operating budget, staffing and resource requirements, and progress and monitoring information.

For example:

An organization’s strategic plan sets forth the goal of the marketing team increasing brand awareness by at least 10% in the next year. This will mean increased engagement with potential customers and more eyes on new marketing materials.

This will require support from the design team, who will have new goals: update the website and create new promotional materials. To achieve those goals, they will collaborate with the development team on the update and hire social media engagement team members. The team will use software and management tools to report and track their progress.

Share the operational plan

Share the operational plan with key stakeholders so they understand mission critical goals and the daily tasks that support them. Track progress in real-time for best results. This also allows you to update the operational plan and report on progress as needed to team members and stakeholders. Like project planning, operational planning is never a one-and-done task, but remains a continuous process.

Why is Operational Planning Important?

At the organizational level, project success demands a strong operational plan. Chaos and confusion often reign without an operational plan, as budgets rise and team members lose sight of tasks and deadlines.

The importance of operational planning is in the creation of a single source of truth that enables comprehensive understanding of mission, strategic goals, and how to achieve them. An operational plan helps teams identify areas that cause lack of clarity, missed revenue generation opportunities, inefficient strategies, or areas of reduced business partnership.

What are the Benefits of Operational Planning?

The advantages of operational planning can impact organizations of any size. An operational plan helps teams reach strategic goals by connecting teams and their individual tasks to company goals. A detail-oriented operational plan has many benefits.

It clarifies organizational goals. Operational planning helps leadership define responsibilities, daily tasks, and activities in detail. It also sets out how individual team members support overall department and organizational goals and defines outcomes for them to measure daily tasks against.

It also boosts team productivity. Operational planning enhances efficiency, productivity, and profits by ensuring employees in each department and across the company know their daily responsibilities and objectives.

Operational planning disadvantages include creating an operational plan based on human error, or whose success is overly dependent upon effective coordination of diverse cross-functional teams. Singular focus only on coordination and not connecting the business is a primary disadvantage of implementing an operations planning process.

Who is Responsible for Operational Planning?

Create an operational plan at the department or team level to best precisely capture the roles and tasks. At a larger organization, an operational plan might even be specific to a particular initiative—much like a detailed tactical or work plan.

There several considerations that determine who creates operational plans:

Typically, the operational plan is the realm of middle-management, in contrast to the top-down execution style from the C-suite the strategic plan receives. Its scope is also narrower and as routine tasks are mapped out, which continuously evolves Changes to the strategic plan will be less frequent.

Given the focus on day-to-day activities, allocation of resources, and tasks, middle-managers are often best-suited to map out and implement the operational plan.

Does Planful Help With Operational Planning?

Yes. Planful’s Continuous Planning platform unites the demand for structured planning originating in finance with the business need for dynamic planning. Planful empowers organizations to make smarter decisions more confidently, rapidly, and strategically and ensures the data collection process for operational planning isn’t a time-consuming, manual process.

Use Planful to build collaborative financial plans that align resources with strategic objectives. Adjust and pivot as business conditions change, model hundreds of different scenarios reliably, and turn annual plans into quarterly or monthly rolling forecasts, all based on what the organization needs now.

Find out more about Planful’s Operational Planning solution here.

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What is an Operational Plan?

What is an Operational Plan?

If you’re running a business , it’s crucial to clearly define your business activities and responsibilities if you want to achieve your business goals. Having a strategic plan in place will not only motivate your team members to work towards your goals, but it will also improve your chances of financial success. 

An operational plan is like a roadmap that can help navigate your business towards specific goals while also overcoming obstacles that may appear along the way. 

In this article, we’ll explain what an operational plan is and how to create an effective operational plan for your business.

Read along!

Table of Contents

An operational plan is a document that sets out the tasks that a business needs to perform in order to reach specific milestones. Your operational plan will outline your business’s current performance while implementing the management strategies your business needs to succeed.  In contrast to a business plan , an operational plan will outline your business’s daily operations and weekly tasks.

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Operational plans: 6 key elements to include.

A great operational will include the following six elements:

1. Strategies

Your operational plan should outline key tasks that need to be performed for you to reach your company’s goals. It’s important to also outline the specific daily activities your business needs to carry out in order to reach your strategic goals.

Additionally, it’s essential for your plan to outline strategic goals for all the different departments of your business. For example, you may want your business’ marketing team to execute marketing strategies that focus on product, pricing and market position.

2. Timelines

You should set a reasonable ‘due date’ for each goal your business wants to achieve. These can be long-term goals or short-term goals. For example, a long-term goal for your business could be that you wish to triple the yearly revenue your business is currently making in five years time. 

A short-term goal, on the other hand, could be that your business aims to hire 20 new employees by next year.

Timelines also will also help your employees stay motivated and ensure that they’re completing tasks in a reasonable time frame. Furthermore, they will help your business avoid unnecessary and substantial delays.

You should create a business budget and outline what financial and material resources are required to complete each goal. A clear and comprehensive budget is a useful way of preventing your business from wasting money and resources.

4. Responsibility

You should outline who’s responsible for managing or undertaking each action. We recommend that you appoint a project manager for your business to ensure that all tasks are achieved in a timely manner and within budget.

5. Key performance indicators(KPIs)

Indicators show progress by identifying what a successful action looks like. A performance indicator should be specific and measurable. For example, an increase in website subscribers by five percent or an increase in social media engagement by 10 percent.

Your business can use either lagging or leading indicators to measure its performance. Lagging indicators can be used to measure the current or past performance of your business goals. This will allow you to see how your business is tracking in regards to achieving its goals.

Contrastingly, using leading indicators will provide predictive measures that will allow your business to avoid making potential errors and to identify alternative ways to reach key goals.

6. A backup plan

You should have a back-up plan for your business in case circumstances change. When you’re creating your back-up plan you should consider the likelihood of your primary operational plan failing and how you will manage it.

Why do you need an Operational Plan?

Without a map, or a clear and common direction, your business’s path to success will be more complex and challenging. Therefore, a great operational plan will provide your business with the many benefits including the following:

An operational plan is crucial for your business to identify what it needs to improve and succeed. An effective operational plan will ensure that your business stays on track towards the goals you have established. In contrast, an ineffective operational will plan can result in your business failing to achieve its goals.

If you’re feeling unsure of the operational plan you’re currently using for your business, you should start a legal health check to identify areas of your operational plan that could be improved.

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What an operating plan is and why you absolutely need one.

operational plan of a company meaning

Most companies spend valuable time and resources to create strategic plans, giving their best to outline a strategy that establishes a solid long-term vision. While having a strategic plan is necessary, a vast number of organizations often lack a critical strategy element: an operating plan.

An operational business plan outlines the details of your daily operations for over one year. It defines who does what, when they do it, and how they do it. When done well, an operation plan defines how you allocate human, physical, and financial resources to reach short-term objectives that support your larger business goals.

What Is An Operational Plan And Why Is It Important?

An operation plan is an extremely detail-oriented plan that clearly defines how a team or department contributes to reaching company goals. It outlines the daily tasks required for running a business. When properly created, an operating plan makes sure each manager and each employee know their specific obligations, as well as how they should execute them within a defined timeline. Mapping out the day-to-day tasks that ensure a clear path to your business and operational goals is essential to success.

On a daily basis, your operations plan should answer these crucial questions:

Your strategic plan is a manual that ensures your company and all its employees execute day-to-day operations in a way that ensures reaching your long-term business goals.

Operational Planning VS Strategic Planning

Very often, a strategic business plan also functions as an operating plan. The confusing of the two can cause problems because both plans are necessary for any company to achieve its goals.

A strategic plan helps your business outline long-term goals and fulfill the big vision. Operating plans define what processes need to be finished to achieve those goals. An operating plan supports the efforts of a strategic plan and makes sure everyone runs their day-to-day tasks as efficiently as possible. Both are action plans, and since the success of the strategic plan heavily depends on the efficiency of the operating plan, you should create it right after outlining your long-term strategy.

A successful company never chooses between an operational plan and a strategic plan. Instead, market leaders make sure they have both. Simply put, a strategic plan outlines your long-term goals for the future, while an operating plan defines how to get there through daily activities and processes.

The goal of an operating plan is to define how all departments join efforts to achieve your vision.

The Steps Of A Successful Operational Business Plan

You can't create a successful operational plan without clearly defining your operational goals. The template below walks you through several important steps to take if you want to develop a functional operating plan:

Note, you can always check out our blog for more successful business tips like this!

Want additional insight? Read 4 Step Guide to Strategic Planning now to learn more


Operational Planning Examples

An operational plan template should help you define and improve the day-to-day actions and processes of your business. Any successful operational plan example indicates that the plans include everything your company does daily to deliver your products or services to customers. They may cover any section, department, and operation. You can find numerous examples of successful operational plan implementation, especially among powerful enterprises.

Let's go over the most common ways of utilizing a proper operational plan:

Planning for Processes and Practices

Businesses often create operational plans for specific processes and practices to ensure they’re meeting objectives in what they deem the important areas. These include efficiency, turnaround time, productivity, cost reduction, waste reduction, sustainability, quality, and customer satisfaction. You can find a successful operating plan example in any department.

Planning As a Strategy Component

Take a look at this operational planning example: let's say a company makes strategic efforts to expand volume production by 50% by the end of the year. The strategic plan will include several critical components: marketing, sales, and operations. The operations part of the plan will include manufacturing, financial, and logistic strategies to achieve a boost in production.

Bottom Line

An operational plan is the key element of every goal-oriented organization. Contact The Alternative Board today to schedule a meeting with our team of business advisory services specialists. We will help you produce an effective operations plan that will help you fulfill your long-term business goals.

Discover the best of the best tips to help grow your business from business leaders around the globe. Subscribe to our monthly Tips from the Top e-zine here (unsubscribe at any time)

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Operational Plan: Meaning, Limitations, Types, and how to Develop one?

October 18, 2019 By Hitesh Bhasin Filed Under: Operations Management

An operational plan is defined as a plan that is set in motion to establish, increase, and improve the daily operations of a business entity. It includes every activity that occurs in an organization on a regular and repetitive basis so as to deliver the products and services in a smooth and timely manner.

Operational planning is considered the core element of strategic planning as it deals in building competitive advantage by cutting costs and garnering new revenue figures.

Table of Contents

Meaning of operational plan

An operational plan is a detailed plan that offers a clear-cut picture of how a department, section, or a team will work to realize the goals of its organization. It maps out the daily tasks in an organized manner to remove any misunderstandings.

The operational plan is restricted to one part of a company. It is focused on the process, inventory, equipment, production, and products and services.

It uses the financial ratio of a company to analyze and identify the profitability and thus creates plans to increase the market share

Types of the operational plan

Types of the operational plan

Operational plans are classified as two types-

#1 Single-use Plans

It is related to a particular problem or a current period. The length or the amount of time for the plan may vary. The most common example of a single-use plan is the task schedule and budget.

An important benefit is addressing the needs efficiently as it is very specific.

#2 Ongoing/ Standing Plans

It is carried onwards to the next year and can extend to other years also. It includes regulations, procedures, and policies. The most important benefit of the ongoing or standing plan is that they encourage unity in the workplace by supporting the values of a company.

It also saves time as it has already been implemented and everyone is aware of it. As employees are aware of the necessary regulation and procedure, it helps in the delegation of work.

Understanding the operational plan

An operational plan is described as a map that is prepared by the low-level management by defining every action that will support the plans and objectives of the upper level of management. It is extremely detailed as it deals with questions like-

#1 How much

The financial and other resources that are available for successfully finishing a task or project are mentioned in the operational plan.

Setting the deadline to complete the task or project is part of an operational plan. It mentions the timeframe when the task is expected to be completed and delivered. It also gives the actual timeline to achieve a smooth process flow.

The individuals or employees who have been assigned to a task or project and their responsibilities as a team and as an individual. The expertise of the employees is perfectly aligned with the designated work to increase productivity.

Operational plans prompt the employees to take ownership of their actions and make them realize that they are accountable for it.

An operational plan talks about the strategies that have been formed to complete the assigned task. These are guided by quality standards, regulations, and protocols of a business entity.

It enables process mapping that will measure the efficiency and productivity of a workforce.

Importance of the operational plan

An operational plan helps the management to implement desired actions and monitor it by encouraging teams and individuals to

It helps the management to find loopholes and inefficiencies in its operations. It then becomes easier to rectify mistakes and take necessary action for increasing the productivity, efficiency, and profitability of a business.

Limitations of the operational plan

The limitation of the operational plan is

How to develop an operational plan?

How to develop an operational plan

Adopt the following procedures to develop an operational plan-

#1 Start with your strategic plan

It is advised to start with your strategic plans because the operational plan is simply an effective tool to carry out those plans. When you have a strong strategic plan in place, writing, and creating an operational plan will become easier.

#2 Focus on the vital goals

Keep your plans simple because if they are complex by nature, then the team or individuals will find it very difficult to follow it. Put your onus on the goals that matter. Break your goals into smaller structures and then determine the important objectives.’

Take the initiative about organizational structures, faster delivery, quality-control measures, and professional development.

#3 Define the initiatives

Identify and define the initiatives of operational planning to execute your strategies.

The plan must outline all the actions to be taken, resources to be managed, and the metrics that should be measured to achieve the set goal.

 #4 Baby steps

Take baby steps to reach your goal slowly and steadily

#5 Use leading indicators

Choose predictive measures and leading indicators to gain a better view of future expectation so that you can chart your course accordingly.

#6 Plan out your action plan

Make sure you have a full-proof plan so that you can table it at the appropriate time

#7 Assign resources

It is important to assign human as well as financial resources as per your plan and be realistic in your approach.

#8 Plan your budget

Plan your budget properly because you do not want to finish your funds midway.

#9 Communicate your priorities

Make sure that every individual is actively involved in the project and your thoughts are being communicated properly.

#10 Assign responsibilities

It is vital to assign specific roles and responsibilities to everyone involved so that the work can continue effectively. Share the bigger picture so that you every member can connect within the team.

#11 Monitor the progress

Keep a vigilant eye on the progress of your operational plan. Full visibility is important to know the status of progress.

#12 Make adjustments

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About Hitesh Bhasin

Hi, I am an MBA and the CEO of Marketing91. I am a Digital Marketer and an Entrepreneur with 12 Years of experience in Business and Marketing. Business is my passion and i have established myself in multiple industries with a focus on sustainable growth.

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Operational Planning: How to Make an Operations Plan


The operations of your business can be defined as the sum of all the daily activities that you and your team execute to create products or services and engage with your customers, among other critical business functions. While organizing these moving parts might sound difficult, it can be easily done by writing a business operational plan. But before we learn how to make one, let’s first understand what’s the relationship between strategic and operational planning.

Operational Planning vs. Strategic Planning

Operational planning and strategic planning are complementary to each other. This is because strategic plans define the business strategy and the long-term goals for your organization, while operational plans define the steps required to achieve them.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan is a business document that describes the business goals of a company as well as the high-level actions that’ll be taken to achieve them over a time period of 1-3 years.

What Is an Operational Plan?

Operational plans map the daily, weekly or monthly business operations that’ll be executed by the department to complete the goals you’ve previously defined in your strategic plan. Operational plans go deeper into explaining your business operations as they explain roles and responsibilities, timelines and the scope of work.

Operational plans work best when an entire department buys in, assigning due dates for tasks, measuring goals for success, reporting on issues and collaborating effectively. They work even better when there’s a platform like ProjectManager , which facilitates communication across departments to ensure that the machine is running smoothly as each team reaches its benchmark. Get started with ProjectManager for free today.

Gantt chart with operational plan

What Is Operational Planning?

Operational planning is the process of turning strategic plans into operational plans, which simply means breaking down high-level strategic goals and activities into smaller, actionable steps. The main goal of operational planning is to coordinate different departments and layers of management to ensure the whole organization works towards the same objective, which is achieving the goals set forth in the strategic plan .

How to Make an Operational Plan

There’s no single approach to follow when making an operation plan for your business. However, there’s one golden rule: your strategic and operational plans must be aligned. Based on that principle, here are seven steps to make an operational plan.

Let’s take a look at each of these elements in more depth.

What Should be Included in an Operational Plan?

Your operational plan should describe your business operations as accurately as possible so that internal teams know how the company works and how they can help achieve the larger strategic objectives. Here’s a list of some of the key elements that you’ll need to consider when writing an operational plan.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a brief document that summarizes the content of larger documents like business plans, strategic plans or operation plans. Their main purpose is to provide a quick overview for busy stakeholders.

Operational Budget

An operational budget is an estimation of the expected operating costs and revenues for a given time period. As with other types of budget, the operational budget defines the amount of money that’s available to acquire raw materials, equipment or anything else that’s needed for business operations. It’s important to limit your spending to stay below your operational budget, otherwise, your company would run out of resources to execute its normal activities.

Operational Objectives

It’s essential to align your operational objectives with your strategic objectives. For example, if one of your strategic objectives is to increase sales by 25 percent over the next three years, one possible operational objective would be to hire new sales employees. You should always grab your strategic plan objectives and turn them into one or multiple action items .

Processes & Workflows

Explain the various business processes, workflows and tasks that need to be executed to achieve your operational objectives. Make sure to explain what resources are needed, such as raw materials, equipment or human resources.

Operational Timeline

It’s important to establish a timeline for your operational plan. In most cases, your operational plan will have the same length as your strategic plan, but in some scenarios, you might create multiple operational plans for specific purposes. Not all operational plans are equal, so the length of your operational timeline will depend on the duration of your projects, workflows and processes.

Hiring Plan

Find any skills gap there might be in your team. You might need to hire a couple of individuals or even create new departments in order to execute your business workflows.

Quality Assurance and Control

Most companies implement quality assurance and control procedures for a variety of reasons such as customer safety and regulatory compliance. In addition, quality assurance issues can cost your business millions, so establishing quality management protocols is a key step in operational planning.

Key Performance Indicators

It’s important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the productivity of your business operations. You can define as many KPIs as needed for all your business processes. For example, you can define KPIs for marketing, sales, product development and other key departments in your company. This can include product launch deadlines, number of manufactured goods, number of customer service cases closed, number of 5-star reviews received, number of customers acquired, revenue increased by a certain percentage and so on.

Risks, Assumptions and Constraints

Note any potential risks, assumptions and time or resource constraints that might affect your business operations.

What Are the Benefits of Operational Planning?

Every plan has a massive effect on all team members involved, and those can be to your company’s benefit or to their detriment. If it’s to their detriment, it’s best to find out as soon as possible so you can modify your operational plan and pivot with ease.

But that’s the whole point of operational planning: you get to see the effect of your operations on the business’s bottom line in real time, or at every benchmark, so you know exactly when to pivot. And with a plan that’s as custom to each department as an operational plan, you know exactly where things go wrong and why.

How ProjectManager Can Help with Operational Planning

Creating and implementing a high-quality operational plan is the best way to ensure that your organization starts out a project on the right foot. ProjectManager has award-winning project management tools to help you craft and execute such a plan.

Gantt charts are essential to create and monitor operational plans effectively. ProjectManager helps you access your Gantt chart online so you can add benchmarks for operational performance reviews. You can also create tasks along with dependencies to make the operation a surefire success.

A screenshot of a gantt chart in ProjectManager

Whether you’re a team of IT system administrators, marketing experts, or engineers, ProjectManager includes robust planning and reporting tools. Plan in sprints, assign due dates, collaborate with team members and track everything with just the click of a button. Plus, we have numerous ready-made project reports that can be generated instantly, including status reports, variance reports, timesheet reports and more.

project status report builder

Related Operations Management Content

Operational planning isn’t done in a silo, and it doesn’t work without the full weight of the team backing it up. Ensure that your department is successful at each benchmark. ProjectManager is an award-winning pm software dedicated to helping businesses smooth out their operational plans for a better year ahead. Sign up for our free 30-day trial today.

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Financial Operating Plan (FOP)

Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia.

operational plan of a company meaning

What Is a Financial Operating Plan (FOP)?

A financial operating plan (FOP) is a financial plan outlining the revenues and expenses over a period of time. A financial operating plan uses past performances, incomes, and expenses to forecast what to expect in the following years. It then incorporates past and recent trends into the planning so as to most accurately forecast what is to come. It will define goals for areas such as budgeting, sales, and payroll as well as create a cash flow projection.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Financial Operating Plans

Similar to a business plan for a new company, a financial operating plan helps managers and key investors understand how the company will operate and grow in the future. It helps keep the company on track and identify areas that need attention.

A good financial operating plan will need to be amended and updated due to any extraordinary events relating to finances, as well as to see if it is still relevant to the current situation. If prepared and amended accordingly, an FOP can be a useful tool in creating and managing the budget, improving control of management operations, and ultimately creating profitability.

How a Financial Operating Plan is Used

A financial operating plan can, in many ways, be far more extensive than a budget. The structure of the plan can be shaped by the objectives of an organization or individual, how their assets may be applied, and ways to adapt to achieve desired outcomes.

Structuring a financial operating plan typically requires input from across all divisions of an organization in order to create a complete framework of the costs and available revenue sources. The intentions and plans of each division must also be accounted for, as they may affect the availability of overall capital for the projected period being planned for.

While a financial operating plan can layout an organization’s internal expectations, external influences can affect the trajectory and follow-through of that plan. Changes in the market, fluctuating needs of customers, and other factors can require a financial operating plan to be restructured in response. In order to adapt to such change, an organization may need to adapt its financial operating plan by taking an assessment of new external factors rather than past trends.

For example, a retailer might use such a plan not only to increase revenue and profits, but to allow for expansion of the operation. Through a financial operating plan, the company can assess its potential liquidity and capital that would be available to support the development of additional locations, the hiring of more staff, as well as ancillary services needed to support the expansion. The plan would also account for maintaining the ongoing business while accommodating for expansion. Planned changes in the business, such as the projected costs of research and development of new products, may also be accounted for in the plan.

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Strategic planning vs. operational planning: 7 main differences, is your strategic plan also functioning as your operational plan that’s a problem—but both are necessary if you hope to achieve your goals..

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Dylan Miyake

Strategic Planning Vs. Operational Planning: 7 Main Differences


Strategic planning and operational planning are both vital to an organization's success. Oftentimes, organizations use both terms to mean the same thing, but they shouldn't.

Are they the same? If not, what’s the difference? Do you need both? We hear these kinds of questions frequently. To help answer them, first we'll walk through the definitions of strategic planning vs. operational planning. Then, we'll explain the main differences between them.

In This Article

What is a strategic plan, what is an operational plan, strategic & operational planning examples, strategic planning vs. operational planning: 7 differences, 1. time period, 2. modification, 4. plan generation, 6. reporting, simplify strategic & operational planning with a single tool, put it into practice.

A strategic plan outlines your mission, vision, and high-level goals for the next three to five years. It also takes into account how you’ll measure those goals, and the major projects you’ll take on to meet them.

An operational plan (also known as a work plan ) is a highly detailed outline of what your department will focus on for the near future—usually the upcoming year. The plan will answer questions - who, what, when, and how much - regarding daily or weekly tasks.

strategic plan vs operational plan definition

Simply put, your strategic plan shares your vision for the future, while your operational plan lays out how you’ll get there on a daily to weekly basis.

Both concepts describe your company's plans for the future, but in different contexts.

Take Meta, for example (formerly Facebook). The company recently announced that an important part of its strategy will be building a new computing platform called a metaverse—a shared virtual world environment. This is a long-term goal that leader Mark Zuckerberg says is “critical to [the company’s] mission.” The creation of this new metaverse would be considered part of the company’s strategic plan.

To accomplish that goal, Meta needs to derive an operational plan outlining tasks that need to be done. Numerous components are involved in creating such a platform—everything from creating standards and protocols for the virtual world to developing the necessary hardware and software to determining how to monetize the experience, and much, much more. Meta has to detail which specific activities its people need to do in each area and when they’ll need to do them. This operational plan will ensure they meet certain milestones and that the company continues moving in the right direction over the long term.

A simpler strategic and operational planning example: Say you have a strategic plan modeled after the Balanced Scorecard. It names the high-level goals your organization is trying to accomplish in each of the four perspectives. It also includes aligned and linked measures and projects designed to help you achieve your objectives. Based on that strategic plan, each department in your company will then need to develop an operational plan for the projects they are responsible for to determine how the work will get done. Completing those projects will help you stay on track to accomplish your goals.

To clarify the concepts of strategic vs. operational—and help you put them into practice—take a look at seven of the most significant differences between the two ideas:

Your strategic plan outlines long-term goals for the next three to five years. What you’ll be doing to achieve those goals in the shorter term (typically the next fiscal year) is outlined in your operational plan.

Your strategic plan should be fairly weatherproof, but that doesn’t mean it won’t occasionally require modifications. Evaluate your strategic plan yearly to see if it still makes sense in case of dramatic changes happening inside or outside the organization, for example, or unexpected performance results. It’s also possible that new opportunities (or threats) may have arisen in the past year that require consideration.

In contrast, you should reevaluate your operational plan monthly. While your strategy may be able to handle the unexpected, the path to reaching your long-term goals is somewhat fluid.

The goal of your strategic plan is to outline the company’s long-term vision and how all departments should work together to achieve it. Because goals are company-focused, strategic plans are more broad in scope than operational plans.

The goal of an operational plan applies to specific departments, not the company as a whole. There can be overlap between departments, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Large departments may require multiple operational plans. Because of its narrower focus, an operational plan is inherently more detailed than a strategic plan—it outlines how you’re going to get it all done!

Your organization’s high-level leadership team—the executive team or city council, for instance—is responsible for creating the strategic plan. Once it’s created, the strategic plan will be pushed forward by cross-functional teams who work together to ensure the strategy is successful.

Nine out of 10 organizations fail to execute strategy. Avoid failure with this toolkit.

Every department should have a leader or team of leaders responsible for creating their operational plan. Although each operational plan is designed for a single department, its successful implementation will lead to organization-wide success. For example, your marketing team has a set of activities they use to increase visibility. These activities should translate to more sales opportunities and ultimately more revenue for the organization (which could be goals in your strategic plan).

Having the right people in the room no matter what type of planning you are doing is key. This is especially true if your organization ever needs to adjust their strategic or operational plans because of an unexpected change in the operating environment.

The budget for your strategic plan comes from your strategic budget, not your operational budget. Your organization may implement a Strat-Ex budget that aligns part of your budget directly to your strategic projects or initiatives. This is a different approach than putting a budget against each of your divisions or departments.

The budget for your operational plan comes from your department’s annual budget. If your annual department budget needs to be cut, consider which elements don’t align to your strategic plan and cut those first. For example, if your strategic plan defines a marketing goal of establishing a strong online presence, your trade show budget should receive budget cuts before blog writing does.

When you report on your strategic plan (typically both annually and quarterly), your strategic planning committee or executive team will want to look at how your company is performing on its chosen measures. Depending on the meeting, these discussions should remain fairly high-level so you don’t get bogged down on details.

Your operational reports, on the other hand, outline hundreds of projects or tasks people in the department are working on. Monthly operational reporting meetings give the leadership—and the rest of the department—an indication of each project’s status.

Unlike your strategic report, updates on operational projects can be anecdotal or qualitative (as it’s often difficult to quantify actions that aren’t tied to measures). Some organizations have a running text commentary either in an Excel field or a Word document. This commentary is updated weekly or monthly, even if there are no direct measures for that part of the operational plan.

Your strategic plan revolves around how your organization can be different . What sets you apart from other organizations is your mission and vision; the goals you set tie into those concepts. Thus, a strategic plan distinguishes your organization’s direction as being different from that of other companies.

In contrast, your operational plan revolves around being better operationally. If you can implement and execute your strategy efficiently and effectively, your chances of successfully reaching your business objectives increase significantly.

To be a strategy-focused company, you need both a strategic plan and departmental operational plans. You also need a tool to help manage these aspects.

Notice we said “a” tool—not multiple tools. Many organizations struggle to stay on top of performance in these areas in part because they’re using separate tools that create data silos, making it more difficult to see the big picture, which is simply: Are we on track to reach our long-term goals?

ClearPoint is designed to help your organization track its strategic plan. Our software also has some critical functionality that serves to help you manage your operational plan. ClearPoint is considered the most comprehensive strategy reporting software available on the market because users can:

ClearPoint also makes it easy to create and share strategy progress reports— we’ve automated 70% of the reporting process! Whether you (or your cohorts) want a quick glance at progress or a detailed report, you can get the information you need without wasting time or manpower on menial reporting tasks.

If all this sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry—you’re probably already farther along than you think! Most departments have some form of operational work plans in place already. So you shouldn’t need to start from scratch; simply put your current plan into a framework or format that helps you perform at a higher level.

Similarly, if your company doesn’t have a fully fleshed-out strategic plan, we have you covered. By the time you’ve filled out this free toolkit , you’ll have a change agenda ready and a strategy map created—complete with your top-priority goals! Download it below.

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Operational Strategy: Meaning, Examples And Types

For most organizations, success will most likely not be a random occurrence. Instead, it’ll be a result of making a…

Operational Strategy

For most organizations, success will most likely not be a random occurrence. Instead, it’ll be a result of making a series of right decisions at the right moments. Meticulous planning, good preparation and flawless execution are factors that determine success for most businesses— and it all begins with defining the right business strategy. An organization’s business strategy is a set of clearly defined plans and actions that outline how it’ll perform in certain markets with the portfolio of services and products that it has. Organizations can rely on many strategies to achieve their goal and maintain their position in competitive markets. These strategies are both long and short-term and deal with a range of activities. It’s the business manager who’s responsible for converting the mission and vision articulated in a sophisticated corporate strategy into a sustainable business strategy so that it can act as a blueprint for the whole business.

An organization’s operations constitute several processes such as manufacturing, material acquisition and delivery. Activities related to operations fall under operational strategy as it caters to operational tasks for developing products such as product diversification, expansion and size and location of the facilities. To help managers make sound decisions related to operations, we’ll discuss operational strategy meaning and the types of operations strategy . The ideas will be clearly explained using operational strategy examples .

Operational Strategy Meaning

Types of operations strategy, operations strategy examples.

Operations or operational strategy refers to a system of decisions that shapes all long-term operational capabilities and their offering to the overall achievement of a strategy. Quite simply, it’s a series of decisions that can help an organization implement competitive and sustainable business strategies. It supports linking long and short-term operational-level decisions with corporate strategy. From a strategic viewpoint, this allows organizations to make key operations decisions and maintain consistency with its overall objectives.

From operations strategy examples , we see that it drives an organization’s operations — the part of the business responsible for producing and distributing services and goods. Along with a business strategy, it’s critical for a business to compete in dynamically shifting markets. Effective strategies enable operations management professionals to optimize the use of people, processes, technology and resources.

To develop a sound operational level strategy , we must consider two main elements — market requirement and operations resources. Market requirements consist of goals related to performance such as time, quality, cost, dependability and flexibility. Performance objectives are mainly influenced by factors like offerings to attract customers over competitors and addressing appropriate customer needs. Operations resources deal with an organization’s capabilities, assets and processes.

Organizations can examine and implement efficient and effective systems for using work processes, personnel and resources. Here are a few common types of operations strategy :

Customer-Driven Strategy

To meet the desires and needs of the target customers, an operations strategy must include customer-driven approaches. Organizations must continuously evaluate the changing business environment and adapt to it. This helps them enhance core competencies and develop new strengths regularly. Organizations must also monitor industry trends to avoid threats as well as create new opportunities. Good customer-driven strategies ensure more clients by improving the system of new and repeat customers by building loyalty and referral.

Product Strategy

A strategy for product development must aim to deliver a compelling product or service that resonates with customers. But the job involves more than releasing new products. Organizations also need to maintain and upgrade their existing products for those who won’t buy the new ones. For example, even though smartphone brands release new models every year, they continue to provide low-cost upgrades and free patches to improve their existing models.

Market Penetration Strategy

Market penetration is an operational level strategy that focuses on capturing a larger share of the target customer base in an industry. Managers can choose strategies to target new users who have no experience with the brand or lure customers away from industry rivals. They may use multiple geographical locations to target a demographic. Adding value to existing customers is also a great way to increase spending on products or on service upgrades.

Supply Chain Strategy

This operations strategy deals with the process of building superior delivery capabilities to create excellence. Organizations can take many paths, such as minimizing product costs by making bulk purchases or increasing customer value by offering product customizations while delivering goods more efficiently. Improving the efficiency of delivery operations can involve changing warehouse layout to reduce time and effort in fulfilling orders. For example, a warehouse manager may decide to bring all frequently bought products to the front and nearer the loading dock. This saves time for both customers and employees and saves on labor by expediting the process.

Service-oriented organizations use basic operations strategy to create an efficient management team and link short- and long-term corporate decisions.

Let’s look at some examples of operations strategy to get a better idea of the concept:

Apart from business expansion throughout the world, McDonald’s business strategy is concerned with preparing quality food for customers quickly and at comparatively lower rates than others. To achieve their goals, they control all their operational activities by developing strategies at the management level and implementing them across all branches. The operations managers at different branches are responsible for monitoring these activities and controlling a few of them. McDonald’s uses information technology to implement new ways of enhancing its operations. Using a stock control database system, they avoid unnecessary ordering and keep stocks updated at stores, spending less time. Their competitive priorities are –

Dell had a distinct supply chain management model in its early years. They started selling customized PCs directly to customers to meet a rapidly increasing demand. Dell became a high-tech pioneer and industry leader with its innovative sales model, offering great value to its shareholders. They were a multinational enterprise that gained a competitive advantage by competently and flawlessly executing an unrivaled global strategy. Dell’s competitive priorities are –

Operational strategy allows organizations to translate their product plans and competitive priorities into processes related to making decisions. Operation decisions help determine the different processes for producing volume and variety of products.

Arriving at the right strategy is a process of inquiry, reasoning and elimination. Ask the right questions to test assumptions and uncover new information. Harappa’s Select A Strategy program will teach you to seek, absorb and interpret information. You’ll be able to actively engage in cognitively challenging tasks and purposefully seek knowledge. You’ll also learn to make data-driven decisions after investigating all available options. Harappa’s Select A Strategy pathway is an overarching framework to get you where you want to be.

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Operational Plan: What is it & How to Create it? (Free Template Included)

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Want to create an operational plan to ensure smooth implementation of daily activities of your business? No worries, we have got you covered. Read on…

Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark. ~  Richard Cushing

Running a business is quite similar to sailing a ship! You have to make sure that every aspect is working in the correct motion for you to stay afloat. Can you sail if you have no clear vision of where you’re headed, your destination, or how you will get there?

To answer these questions, you might need to create an intuitive  operational plan  for your business which would work as a lighthouse to guide you through the way and highlight any upcoming risks that could arise in the near future.

An operational plan lucidly describes the business vision and mission! This document is coherently chalked out for the day-to-day running of any business and outlines the operations related to finance, recruitment, marketing, and other resources required for a successful company.

However, crafting such documents can be time-consuming! Therefore, we decided to create a free plug-and-play operational plan template for your team! But before we hop onto our awesome template, let us first understand what exactly is an operation plan and what to include in such documents.

Read on…

What is an Operational Plan? (Definition)

An operational plan is a strategic document that outlines all the planning related to daily operations and processes required for running a successful business. It entails all the activities that different teams or departments like recruitment, marketing, and finance, need to perform to achieve company goals and objectives.

The main objective of a well-defined operational plan ensures each manager and employee knows their specific responsibilities, as well as how they should execute them within a definite timeline.

An employee creating checklist for operational plan

Why is an Operational Plan Important?

The whole point of operational planning is to see the effect of your operations on the business’s working in real-time, so you know exactly when to execute your major strategies.

An operational plan helps you identify areas that are not generating enough revenue or are causing losses, and then assists you with formulating the necessary changes. This document also plays a crucial role in keeping all key stakeholders, management, and board members on the same page.

Everyone needs to be aligned with the company’s mission, goals, risks, hiring needs, financial projections, key performance indicators (KPIs), etc. An operational plan will help every department focus on their contribution to the larger vision by bringing all leading members together under one roof! Home Page CTA

Read more:  Operational Efficiency: Definition, Importance & Ways to Improve it!

How to Create an Operational Plan? Follow these Steps!

Step 1. create a title page.

While writing an operational plan, the first thing to do is to create a title page for it. This provides all the information about the topic at a single glance.

Here, you will include the title of your document, the registered name of your company, the designation, and the name of the person who creates the document.

Step 2. Write an Executive Summary

An executive summary refers to a section that deals with what a topic is all about in a brief manner. This is to ensure that your readers have a rough idea of the content and encourage them to read on.

In this section, you emphasize the gist of your overall plan and provide a concise explanation of all the important sections in a few sentences.

Step 3. Define Mission and Objectives

Define your organization’s mission and determine your company’s goals and objectives.

Ask yourself what the company is trying to accomplish over the next year and what the major goals and milestones are that support the need for this operational plan.

Describe the company mission, vision, and the reasons this plan is important. Have there been changes in the competitive landscape? Have you raised a round of capital?

Doing this will help you evaluate and measure your company’s performance against your missions and objectives and see how well you are doing in terms of achieving or meeting your goals.

Step 4. Provide Key Performance Indicators

In this section, you can break down each part of your business by evaluating all the major KPIs and metrics involved in measuring your results.

Provide proof of the importance of the operational plan by sharing key numbers that support the ideas in this document.

Step 5. Include a Financial Summary

The next section to be included in your operational plan is the financial summary. Here, you can give an overview of all the projects that will be included during the operational plan and include its financial breakdown. Make sure that there is enough capital to execute this plan.

Step 6. Create a Hiring Plan

Your company will have different hiring needs for each department, therefore, it is essential that you create a hiring plan to decide how many team members will be hired across different departments on a monthly/quarterly basis.

Step 7. Determine the Key Assumptions & Risks

No plan is ever free from risks and problems, so it’s important that you determine the risks to the business and address how the company could work towards mitigating those risks.

This will help your employees be prepared for any possible and potential risks and problems that may arise over the course of their projects.

Step 8. Include the Next Steps

Now that you have included all the major sections, it becomes crucial that you mention what’s going to happen next. Share the next steps, which could include the approval process, updates and reporting time frames, etc.

Step 9. Proofread

The last and final step is to proofread your document and ensure that all the major points are intact and the message is properly conveyed.

Check for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, typos, or poorly constructed sentences. Make a colleague or another person go through your proposal to double-check everything.

Read more:   Standard Operating Procedures (SOP): What, Types, and How to Write?

Key Benefits of Creating Your Operational Plan Documentation on

To create an effective operational plan, you need a proficient tool that can help you create, share, and collaborate with stakeholders and work efficiently. This is where Bit comes in! Document collaboration platform

Bit serves as a central hub where collaborators, content, and communications can be accessed in one all-inclusive document. Managers can use Bit to create an operational plan document, collaborate with the team in real-time, and store all product assets in one place for easy and fast access.

Whether your team is creating the operational plan documents, project documentation, status report, release notes , roadmap, project charter , product requirements, API documentation, product launch marketing documents, pitch decks, business plan, SWOT analysis, competitive research, project management plan, etc, they can easily add spreadsheets, Slideshares, Google Slides, YouTube videos, PDFs, maps, charts, graphs, and more to your documents and make them visually stunning.

Bit features infographic

Organization of information:   Organizational information is often scattered in cloud storage apps, emails, Slack channels, and more. Bit brings all your information in one place by allowing you to organize information in Workspaces and folders. Bring all your documents, media files, and other important company data in one place.

Brand consistency: Focus on the content and let Bit help you with the design and formatting. Bit documents are completely responsive and look great on all devices. With amazing templates and themes, Bit docs provide you with the type of brand and design consistency which is unheard of in the documentation industry

Smart search:  Bit has very robust search functionality that allows anyone to search and find any files, images, documents, etc quickly and easily across all of their workspaces. Users can search their digital assets using keywords, titles, descriptions, or tags. They can even search for files based on their source. (i.e., YouTube).

Media Integrations:  Companies use an average of 34 SaaS apps! No wonder why most of our time is spent hopping from one app to the next, looking for information. This is why integrates with over 100+ popular applications (YouTube, Typeform, LucidChart, Spotify, Google Drive, etc) to help teams weave information in their documents beyond just text and images.

Recommended power links and files you can add to your operational plan template:

Sharing : Bit documents can be shared in a live state meaning that all changes that you make to the document will update in real-time. If you are sharing your documents with clients, they will always get your most up-to-date changes. You can even embed Bit documents on any website or blog.

Tons of other features:  Bit has a plethora of amazing features like document tracking, cloud-upload, templates, and themes, document locking, document expiration, and much more, making it a well-rounded documentation tool.

Bit provides a common workplace for project members to collaborate, document, share their knowledge, brainstorm ideas, store digital assets, and innovate together. The best part is that this knowledge is safely secured in your workspaces and can be shared (or kept private) with anyone in your organization or the public!

Here are some of the man benefits of using Bit:

Read more:  Business Development Plan: What Is It And How To Create A Perfect One?

To make the process of creating your operational plan documentation easier, we have created a ready-made operational plan template for you! Check it out below:

How to Use the Operational Plan Template with Bit

The process of creating an operational plan on Bit is insanely easy! Just follow these four simple steps to create your document quickly:

Step 1: Create a Bit Account

Go the home page of  and click on Get Started for Free or Sign Up to get started. Enter your  email address  to sign up. Once in, you can create your personal profile.

Step 2: Create a Workspace

Workspaces are where the work gets done. Click on the  ‘Create Workspace’  button on the right. A popup will show up prompting you to add a name for your new workspace.  

You can create a workspace around a team, department, large project, client, partner, etc. Inside each workspace, you can create an unlimited amount of Bit documents and access your content library (storage area for all of your digital assets – web links, files, cloud files, rich embeds, etc.).

Step 3: Add Team Members

Bit allows your team members to collaborate in real-time and get work done. Collaboration starts at the workspace level.

You create private workspaces by default. However, you can invite others to join you inside of a workspace and collaborate together with the knowledge, projects, documents, and content inside of the workspace.

Step 4: Create Your Desired Document

Once you are in the workspace, click on the ‘ Create New’  button. Select  ‘From Template’  in the dropdown. A pop up will display allowing you to select a template from the gallery.

In the search box on the top left corner, you can search for an “operational plan template”. Once your desired template pops up, click on it and click on the  “Use Template ” button on the bottom right corner.

That’s it! Your document is ready for use!

Few more templates you might be interested in:

🎥Watch this video to learn more👇

Over to You!

Operational plans bring accountability into your everyday tasks. They help you analyze the performance of your business, goals, strategies and identify the resources required to achieve those targets. These documents are a great way of managing other performance measures too like team efficacy, staff optimization, or the number of employees achieving beyond their targets.

Bit is a great tool to manage all essential resources associated with creating an operations plan. It brings all stakeholders under one roof for the smooth execution of the plan. If you need any help with the operational plan template or want to know how Bit can help your business, let us know by tweeting us @bit_docs. Cheers!

Further reads: 

How to Write an Operations Manual?

How to Create a Killer Sales Plan Document?

How to Create a Product Plan the Right Way?

What is an Implementation Plan & How to Create One?

How to Create a Strategic Process Improvement Plan?

How to Create a Procurement Management Plan: Step by Step Guide

How To Make A Full Proof Business Plan?

How To Create a Partnership Marketing Plan?

How to Create a Clear Transition Plan for your Business?

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operational plan of a company meaning

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Operational Company definition

Examples of operational company in a sentence.

The relevant property comprised the Investment Company, its shareholding in the Operational Company and assets to be acquired by the Operational Company .

It is correct that under the arrangements, the profits or income were to be derived mainly from the underlying businesses and assets held by the subsidiaries, the shares in which were held by the Operational Company .

The arrangements thus did comprise the investment management of Shares in the subsidiaries of the Operational Company .

Read together the clear intention of the relevant rules is that a private equity business is to be regarded as a Fund.5. The DFSA has reasonable grounds for determining that the purpose and effect of these arrangements was the investment management of Investments comprising Shares in the subsidiaries of the Operational Company , and as noted at paragraph 2 above Real Property.

The investments held by the Operational Company , which was wholly owned by the Investment Company, were Shares in the operating subsidiaries, not the businesses and assets of those subsidiaries.

Each Operational Company invested in businesses and assets within a particular sector of the economy, primarily through the acquisition of unlisted companies.

As between the parties to those arrangements, that is the investor, the Investment Company and the manager, the purpose of the arrangements was to enable an investor to participate in a private equity fund holding shares in a portfolio of operational subsidiaries, with a number of potential exit routes including a strategic sale of the Operational Company , an IPO or a trade sale of shares to financial investors.

The profits are pooled in the accounts of the Investment Company and the Operational Company .

The investor presentation or offering document described the assets to be held by the Operational Company , the projected returns for investors and the exit strategy.

Al Masah Cayman established four Investment Companies, which were exempted companies incorporated in the Cayman Islands, each holding shares in a subsidiary (the Operational Company ) incorporated in the UAE.

Related to Operational Company

Operational Control means Security monitoring, adjustment of generation and transmission resources, coordinating and approval of changes in transmission status for maintenance, determination of changes in transmission status for reliability, coordination with other Balancing Authority Areas and Reliability Coordinators, voltage reductions and load shedding, except that each legal owner of generation and transmission resources continues to physically operate and maintain its own facilities.

Operational Plan means a Forest Stewardship Plan, Woodlot Licence Plan, a Range Use Plan, or Range Stewardship Plan, as those terms are defined in provincial forest and range legislation;

Operational Year means all or any portion of any calendar year during which this Lease is in effect.

Railway Operation means the construction and operation under this Agreement of the relevant Railway and associated access roads and Additional Infrastructure (if any) within the relevant Railway Corridor and of the associated Lateral Access Roads, in accordance with approved proposals;

Commercial Operation means the condition of operation in which the complete equipment covered under the Contract is officially declared by the Owner to be available for continuous operation at different loads up to and including rated capacity. Such declaration by the Owner, however, shall not relieve or prejudice the Contractor of any of his obligations under the Contract.

Operational Area means a work unit providing a distinct service that may include one of the following areas: domestic services, food services, laundry/linen services and the work of aides and orderlies and similar operational work

Commence commercial operation means to have begun to generate electricity for sale, including the sale of test generation.

Commercial Operations means the generation of electricity or other energy product for commercial use, sale, or distribution.

Farm operation means any activity conducted solely or primarily for the production of one or more agricultural products or commodities, including timber, for sale or home use, and customarily producing such products or commodities in sufficient quantity to be capable of contributing materially to the operator's support.

Operational Period means the period starting with the date and time a Certificate is issued (or on a later date and time certain if stated in the Certificate) and ending with the date and time on which the Certificate expires or is earlier revoked.

Operational Services means Opflex, Lineflex and adjustment of Linefill quantity and shipper imbalance.

Operating Company means an “operating company” within the meaning of 29 C.F.R. §2510.3-101(c) of the Plan Asset Regulations.

In operation means engaged in activity related to the primary design function of the source.

Project Operational Manual means the Project Operational Manual, to be adopted in accordance with Section 6.01 (a) of this Agreement, giving details of guidelines and procedures agreed with the Association for the implementation, supervision, and monitoring and evaluation, of the Project, and the procurement procedures and guidelines for Sub-Projects, as same may be amended from time to time in agreement with the Association, and such term includes any schedules to the Project Operational Manual;

Initial Operation means the first integral operation of the complete equipment covered under the Contract with the sub-system and supporting equipment in service or available for service.

Normal operation means the oper- ation of a program or activity without significant changes that would impair its ability to meet its objectives.

Generation Operations Center means the location of Buyer’s real-time operations personnel.

Operational Flow Order means any directive issued to a Customer by KUB which requires the Customer to adjust Deliveries to KUB or deliveries of non-Firm gas to the Customer by KUB.

Production Operations means all operations conducted for the purpose of producing Petroleum from the Development Area after the commencement of production from the Development Area including the operation and maintenance of all necessary facilities therefor.

Project Company means Company incorporated by the bidder as per Indian Laws in accordance with Clause no 3.5.

Commercial Operations Date bears the meaning ascribed thereto in Section 1 of the Power Purchase Agreement;

Designated operational area means a geographic area designated by the combatant commander or subordinate joint force commander for the conduct or support of specified military operations.

Commercial Operation Date means the date on which a Material Project is substantially complete and commercially operable.

Business operations means engaging in commerce in any form, including by acquiring, developing, maintaining, owning, selling, possessing, leasing, or operating equipment, facilities, personnel, products, services, personal property, real property, or any other apparatus of business or commerce.

co-operative means a co-operative registered in terms of section 7 of Cooperatives Act, 2005 (Act No. 14 of 2005)

Construction Plant means all machinery, appliances or things of whatsoever nature, required for the execution, completion or maintenance of the works, but does not include material or other things, intended to form or forming part of the permanent works.

How to Do an Operational Plan: Everything You Need to Know

An operational plan outlines the tasks each employee will need to carry out to accomplish the goals laid out in the strategic plan. 3 min read

Steps in how to do an operational plan should incorporate the following as you outline your strategy:

What Is an Operational Plan?

An operational plan outlines the tasks each employee will need to carry out to accomplish the goals laid out in the strategic plan. The operations section of a business plan expands on the company:

In other words, your operational plan should, clearly and in detail, elaborate on the physical, financial, and human resources you will allocate on a day-to-day basis in support of your company's broader strategic objectives.

Creating an Effective Operational Plan

The best operational plans have a clearly articulated objective that everyone in your company is focused on achieving. Your operational plan will, therefore, be a useful document for your investors. However, it can also help you and your employees by encouraging you to think carefully about deadlines and tactics.

The operations plan should provide answers to the following questions:

An operational plan must have clearly articulated goals. This section should state in clear terms what the company's operational objectives are. Operational objectives should be thought of as your plan to achieve your company's strategic objective. A good operational objective should be:

While each department should have a different operational objective, these should assist in achieving the company's overall objective.

Once you have generated objectives, you must create a strategic plan to meet them. Each department or team must be appropriately resourced. You should think about the following resources:

In addition to describing the production process, you should describe the operating process in detail. Questions you should answer include:

Steps to Create a Strong Operational Plan

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Operational Planning: How to Make an Operational Plan

The presence of a strategic plan is essential to any company, but it's not enough. You need an operational plan for day-to-day work to make sure that the broader organizational goals are within reach.

Operational plans are not only for large enterprises — small businesses and individuals too can benefit from operational planning. According to University Lab Partners , a lack of planning is one of the top reasons that startups fail. What's more, a survey by Gallup  found that only about half of employees know what is expected from them at work. Without a robust operational plan in place, organizations are risking losing their best workers and their business success. 

In this blog post, we will explain what is an operational plan and show you how to create one without being overwhelmed.

What is an operational plan?

An operational plan is a document that outlines the key objectives and goals of an organization and how to reach them.

The document includes short-term or long-term goals in a clear way so that team members know their responsibilities and have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.

Crafting an operational plan keeps teams on track while guiding them in making crucial decisions about the company's long-term strategy.

Operational planning vs strategic planning

Though related to each other, these two planning strategies differ in their focus.

Operational planning is the process of the day-to-day work to execute your strategy. It ensures you have all the resources and staff necessary to get work done efficiently.

On the other hand, strategic planning is about looking ahead into the future, identifying the upcoming pipeline, and figuring out how you can prepare for it.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, nearly 7 million Americans are self-employed, with an additional 10 million employed by small businesses. 

If you're working at a large corporation, chances are your company will have some form of strategic goals in place. However, if you're one of the millions who work remotely and independently, your success will rely on operational planning instead.

What are the key elements of an operational plan?

The success of operational planning largely depends on setting realistic expectations for all teams.

Here are the key elements of a functional operational plan:

Ensure all teams understand the parameters of success. Doing this shows how their work contributes to wider company goals and ensures better decision-making for the business operation.

How to create an operational planning process

Think of an operational plan as a key component in a team puzzle. It provides employees with a manual on how to operate the company.

It should be created in tandem with other foundational documents like an organizational mission statement, vision document, or business strategy. Daily, it can help answer questions such as:

To create a successful operational plan, it's important to define goals clearly. Here are several steps that will help you develop a functional operating plan:

Start with the strategic plan

Before defining an operational goal, make sure your strategic objectives are in place and relevant.

Prioritize the most critical activities first

Once these goals have been decided on, prioritize the most critical activities required to achieve these aims.

Stop diluting team efforts and let them focus on the most important goals first. Doing this means everyone works on a smaller set of tasks, instead of spreading themselves thin in multiple areas. It also helps in optimizing available resources.

Use predictive indicators

For a robust operational plan, consider using key performance metrics or indicators that can help you determine project progress and lend visibility to team activities. 

While lagging indicators look backward, leading indicators look to the future. Think of the plan as a car — the rear-view mirror would be a lagging indicator, while the windshield would be the leading indicator.

A leading indicator could be a new product, higher customer satisfaction levels, or new markets. Examples of lagging indicators include the number of people who attended an event or the monthly operating expenses for specific departments. 

Instead of lagging indicators, use leading indicators. Lagging metrics will show that your efforts are falling short only after you execute the operations.

Leading KPIs include predictive measures that allow early identification of problems before they become critical and impact business performance negatively.

Get team buy-in

The key to defining appropriate KPIs is involving the whole team in the process. Meet to discuss the business goals and figure out what measurements are right for the team instead of working independently or outsourcing them.

Ensure consistent communication

Communication is key. By understanding your company's metrics and what they mean, you'll be able to work together more effectively with colleagues to reach common goals.

Operational plan example

Let’s say that a company plans to increase production volume by 50% at the end of a fiscal year.

When the company goal is clear, the team will make a strategic plan with three main components: marketing, sales, and operations.

This can be further broken down into an operational plan, which will assign resources, teams, budgets, and timelines for different departments such as manufacturing, sourcing, accounts, finance, and logistics to achieve the increase in production. Such a plan should include a financial summary and financial projections as well.

Operational plan template

Think about the example above. The goals and parties involved are clear as part of the operational plan. At the same time, to remain on track, the plan requires continuous analysis and reviews. An operational plan template can be extremely helpful to achieve that.

An operational template can be a simple document that is reused for different plans by the same organization. However, it is also possible and extremely helpful to make use of project management software tools to create one.

For instance, Gantt charts can serve exactly that purpose. Using a Gantt chart as an operational plan template, it is possible to create and manage plans, track changes and edit project-related activities in real time. The chart allows clear visibility for timelines, tasks, responsibilities, and team members.

Operational planning advantages and disadvantages

Most businesses utilize an operational plan to keep track of their daily tasks. 

The plan outlines the day-to-day activities for running the organization — teams, managers, and employees are then able to visualize their contribution, which is crucial for reaching company goals.

But every process has two sides. Let’s review the operational planning advantages and disadvantages in more detail.

Operational planning advantages

Clarifies organizational goals.

An operational plan helps managers and department heads define their daily tasks, responsibilities, and activities in detail.

It also illustrates how individual team members contribute to the overall company or department goals. Without a clearly defined plan, managers and employees have no way to measure their daily tasks against predefined outcomes.

Boosts team productivity

Business owners are always looking for ways to increase productivity, which in turn translates into higher profits. One of the best and easiest ways to boost efficiency is through an operational plan.

Employees are more productive when they know their daily objectives and responsibilities. Conversely, if they're unsure of what is required of them, chances are their productivity will suffer. 

An operational plan provides this vital information to employees in each department and across the company as a whole.

Enhance organizational profitability

Having a plan helps in keeping projects and teams on track.

When operations are managed properly, teams are able to consistently increase revenue and develop new products.

Innovation pays off. A BCG survey points out that 60% of companies that are committed to innovation report steadily increasing revenues year after year. With an operational plan in place, teams are able to innovate better and faster.

Improves competitive advantages

Competitive advantages are made up of multiple levels and components.

Coordinating the different parts with an operational plan will make your workflows run more smoothly. This allows you to deliver high-quality deliverables on time, creating an outstanding customer experience and keeping you ahead of the competition.

Operational planning disadvantages

Possibility of human error.

Human error is a common problem in manufacturing that can often occur when transitioning from production to sale.

Operations management teams will need to coordinate effectively with diverse cross-functional teams such as finance, accounting, engineering, and human resources. In doing so, each team will have a clear understanding of the end goals of each department.

Interdependency amongst parts

One of the main disadvantages of implementing an operations planning process is that its success depends on coordination across parts.

Plans end up failing due to one part not working, which can have an adverse impact on the subsequent process. Disruptions in one process can end up affecting the entire process, making the entire operational plan useless.

Using Wrike for operational planning

Give your organization a boost by ensuring every project starts off on the right foot.

Wrike's award-winning project management tools help you craft and execute an operational plan template with Gantt charts and various other premade templates .

Establish your operational plan, monitor progress, and be ready to pivot if required. Wrike lets you share real-time data that makes all milestones crystal clear for your team, helping them stay updated and on track.

With Wrike, your team can create and monitor a high-quality operational plan that ensures the achievement of organizational goals. Start a free two-week trial of Wrike to put your operational plan into practice today!

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  1. Operational Plan: Meaning, Example, Steps, Types And Importance

    Simply put, an operational plan lays out the tasks a business must carry out to reach the desired outcome. More accurately, it's a blueprint created by a department or a team within an organization that clearly defines the actions that must be taken to fulfill strategic objectives and meet the expectations of senior management.

  2. What is an operational plan? (A how-to guide with examples)

    An operational plan is a plan that outlines the key objectives and goals of a company while also outlining how the company can achieve them. A clear and concise operational plan can help to ensure that projects stay on track and can help to improve day-to-day operations.

  3. What is Operational Planning? Definition and Related FAQs

    Operational planning is the result of a team or department working to execute a strategic plan. It is a future-oriented process that maps out department goals, capabilities, and budgets to promote the success of team-based activities designed to support the strategic plan.

  4. What is an Operational Plan?

    An operational plan is a document that sets out the tasks that a business needs to perform in order to reach specific milestones. Your operational plan will outline your business's current performance while implementing the management strategies your business needs to succeed.

  5. What Are Operational Plans for a Business?

    An operational plan can be defined as a plan prepared by a component of an organization that clearly defines actions it will take to support the strategic objectives and plans of upper...

  6. What an Operating Plan Is and Why You Absolutely Need One

    An operational business plan outlines the details of your daily operations for over one year. It defines who does what, when they do it, and how they do it. When done well, an operation plan defines how you allocate human, physical, and financial resources to reach short-term objectives that support your larger business goals.

  7. Operational Plan: Meaning, Limitations, Types, and how to ...

    An operational plan is defined as a plan that is set in motion to establish, increase, and improve the daily operations of a business entity. It includes every activity that occurs in an organization on a regular and repetitive basis so as to deliver the products and services in a smooth and timely manner.

  8. Operational Planning: How to Make an Operations Plan

    Operational planning is what happens when a team or department draws from a company-wide strategic plan and puts it under a microscope. Operational strategy is future-oriented: it maps out department budgets and goals to propel the success of the strategic plan with specific, team-based activities for the next 1-3 years.

  9. How To Make an Operations Plan (With Definition ...

    Operations plans are tools businesses can use to outline their goals, define expectations and set achievable deadlines. Learning to create successful and comprehensive operational plans can help ensure you maximize efficiency and productivity in the workplace.

  10. Financial Operating Plan (FOP) Definition

    A financial operating plan (FOP) is a financial plan outlining the revenues and expenses over a period of time. A financial operating plan uses past performances, incomes, and expenses to forecast ...

  11. What Is the Operational Plan Section of the Business Plan?

    Definition of an Operation Plan An operation plan is a guiding path for the business to follow in order to achieve all of its goals and objectives described in the general business plan.

  12. Strategic Planning Vs. Operational Planning: 7 Main Differences

    Operational Planning: 7 Differences. To clarify the concepts of strategic vs. operational—and help you put them into practice—take a look at seven of the most significant differences between the two ideas: 1. Time Period. Your strategic plan outlines long-term goals for the next three to five years.

  13. Operational Strategy: Meaning, Examples And Types

    Operational Strategy Meaning. Operations or operational strategy refers to a system of decisions that shapes all long-term operational capabilities and their offering to the overall achievement of a strategy. Quite simply, it's a series of decisions that can help an organization implement competitive and sustainable business strategies.

  14. Operational Plan: What is it & How to Create it? (Free Template Included)

    An operational plan is a strategic document that outlines all the planning related to daily operations and processes required for running a successful business. It entails all the activities that different teams or departments like recruitment, marketing, and finance, need to perform to achieve company goals and objectives.

  15. Operational Company Definition

    Operating Company means an "operating company" within the meaning of 29 C.F.R. §2510.3-101(c) of the Plan Asset Regulations. In operation means engaged in activity related to the primary design function of the source.

  16. How to Do an Operational Plan: Everything You Need to Know

    What Is an Operational Plan? An operational plan outlines the tasks each employee will need to carry out to accomplish the goals laid out in the strategic plan. The operations section of a business plan expands on the company: Objectives. Timeline. Procedures.

  17. 4 Examples of an Operations Plan

    An operations plan is a plan to establish, expand or improve the day-to-day processes and practices of a business. Operations includes everything that a business does on a repeated basis to deliver products and services. It is common for operations to be heavily optimized, expanded and improved in order to build competitive advantages, cut costs and generate new revenue.

  18. Operational planning

    An operational plan is the basis for and justification of an annual operating budget request. Therefore, a five-year strategic plan would typically require five operational plans funded by five operating budgets. [citation needed] Operational plans should establish the activities and budgets for each part of the organization for the next 1-3 years.

  19. Operational Planning: How to Make an Operational Plan

    Operational planning is the process of the day-to-day work to execute your strategy. It ensures you have all the resources and staff necessary to get work done efficiently. On the other hand, strategic planning is about looking ahead into the future, identifying the upcoming pipeline, and figuring out how you can prepare for it.