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How to Make an Agile Plan for 2021

Published by Rachelle Sanders

November 17th, 2020

in Project Portfolio Management

After what an incredibly unprecedented year 2020 has been, it might seem difficult to put together a plan for the new year. For so many organizations, their well-laid plans for this year were dashed only a few months in and business has still not returned to normal. With so much still in flux and with uncertainty painting 2021, how can you put together a meaningful plan? If 2020 has taught businesses anything, it’s that being able to quickly adapt is the key to not only surviving but thriving through these difficult times. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make plans for 2021. It means you should make an agile plan.

Overcoming Change with an Agile Plan

What makes a plan agile is the ability to adapt the plan to changing conditions while still working toward company objectives. Agile plans aren’t so prescriptive in terms of how your organization will achieve its goals, but rather act as a target. The projects you plan at the beginning of the new year may become irrelevant later in the year as economies, markets and customer demands continue to fluctuate. That’s okay. Agile plans make it easy for organizations to adapt and change so they can still deliver results.

How to Make an Agile Plan for 2021

Creating an agile plan may be different from previous types of planning organizations are used to, but the process is simple. To create and maintain an agile plan, organizations will anticipate, adapt and accelerate the delivery of work.

Anticipate

Most plans (agile or not) begin with corporate goals or objectives. Organizations creating agile plans don’t just select goals arbitrarily. They take time to anticipate opportunities and potential pitfalls they may experience in the new year. Are there new technologies on the horizon that could disrupt your business? Could new regulations reduce your working capacity? To answer these questions and others, organizations rely on both internal and external data to anticipate the answer. Companies that use data to anticipate successfully don’t get bogged down by overwhelming amounts of data. They only use the most relevant data and don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Anticipating changes to your business doesn’t just happen once a year. Your organization should be continually anticipating change because business, markets and customers are always changing. Your agile plan will rely on continual anticipation to be successful. When you anticipate, you can take observations gained from data and turn them into actionable items for your organization.

Adapt

If you’ve anticipated a shift in consumer demand, a new disruptive technology or other types of change to your business, you will need to adapt your project plans in response. This may seem like a difficult task, but your agile plan has a corporate goal to help focus your decision-making. Figuring out how to adapt to anticipated changes is most easily done through scenario planning. Scenario planning helps you answer What-If questions regarding budgets, priorities, resources and timing of projects. Scenarios can be the sandbox organizations use to determine how they should adapt to continue to reach their goals.

Accelerate

Once you’ve anticipated changes and determined how to adapt, you will need to accelerate the delivery of your agile plan. Accelerating work isn’t about using brute force to get projects to the finish line. To accelerate projects, organizations should focus on efficiency and effectiveness. This means removing roadblocks and unnecessary processes so project teams can focus on actual work. This also means that teams shouldn’t be micro-managed. Trust that your project teams can resolve issues, figure out the best way to work and deliver good work on time.

Staying Agile in 2021

The project plans you make for 2021 might look very different as the next year comes to a close – and they should! It is increasingly difficult for companies to stay competitive and even successful when they rely on rigid plans and processes. Being able to respond to change quickly is rapidly becoming the differentiator between long-lasting companies and those that cannot survive even minor disruptions.

Answering “What If…?” with Meisterplan

This question is at the center of every change. In a dynamic world, the best companies are ready to change every day. And that means you have to answer the question “What if …?”. Meisterplan helps companies answer What-If questions with real-time scenario planning, transparent project and resource data and comprehensive reporting to help you understand where your company is in pursuit of your goals. To see how you can use Meisterplan to answer “What if…?” and create agile plans, watch our free product demo.

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