Planning by Aaron Kleiner
Planning, though often maligned and sometimes totally ignored, is an essential management process in the small high tech company. Listing the excuses entrepreneurs give for inadequate planning would require far more space than is provided in this column, but here are a few examples:
In the end, however, without proper planning, there is no way to gauge how the company is doing or how well it understands the dynamics of its business. It is impossible to effectively utilize internally or externally generated feedback without some ongoing set of criteria for performance. The plan itself without diligence in follow-up is useless. Measuring performance against plan and then grappling with deviations is, at the same time, the most important and the most difficult part of the process. Taking a hard look at the critical elements of the business such as product and sales strategies and key employee performance and making the necessary adjustments is the basis of the management function. Without proper planning, it is nearly impossible to carry out this vital role.
- I left a big company because of its cumbersome and
bureaucratic planning procedures which thwarted creativity
and individual initiative.
- We are out on the frontier of development. How can you expect me to schedule miracles?
- My markets are so dynamic, I have to be able to respond and not be hamstrung by some plan. I have to act quickly and decisively or the big guys will squash me.
- We have the business plan the VC's made us do.
Reprinted with permission from The MIT Enterprise Forum, Inc. of Cambridge. The article first appeared in the "Forum Reporter," Volume 8, No. 8, March 1990.
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