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Topics: Organizational Project Management, PMO, Portfolio Management
Tactical Plan vs Operational Project Plan
Anonymous
Hi,

I have a question on Tactical & Opertaion planning in Program and Project Management context.

Over years, I have seen Starategic prlan on organisation level; Tactical and Operational Plans on departments or Divisions level. Tactical and Operational levels is very much the way how permanent departments in organisations operate today.

When it comes to Project Management, projects are temporary endevours and contribute into the strategic plans however, splitting prject plan into Tactical & Operational plans is not a practice i have seen myself working in practice with sucess. Instead, what I have seen is "one project plan" which is further broken down into deliverables and small pieces of work on frequent intervals using sort of rolling wave planning.

I am curious if someone out of you had an experience of splitting project plans into Tactical & Opertational Plan? If so, what have you learned from it?

Thanks for sharing!
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No, I have personally never come across the concept of a tactical and operational project plan.
What I have seen is more of an intersection of the project plan and the overall operational plan. Operations will expect a certain amount of output. The intersection of a project deliverable will change that output in some way. The project manager and sponsor will work ahead of the project deliverable to prepare that area for the changes (the sponsor hopefully is familiar with the operational area and can shephard that). The operational owner will update their tactical plans. Be sure to start this well in advance of project completion so there is time to prepare people and processes for the change.
If the project is big enough (for example, not a small divisional project but a large organizational one), the organization would have accounted for the change in their strategic plans already.
Hope this answers your question.
Hi,

Tactical planning is short range planning emphasizing the current operations of various parts of the organization.Managers use tactical planning to outline what the various parts of the organization must do for the organization to be successful at some point one year or less into the future. Tactical plans are usually developed in the areas of army, production, marketing, personnel, finance and plant facilities. Because of the time horizon and the nature of the questions dealt, mishaps potentially occurring during the execution of a tactical plan should be covered by moderate uncertainties and may lie closer to the control of management (next year shipping prices, energy consumption, but not a catastrophic black-out, etc.) than strategic ones.

Operational planning is the process of linking strategic goals and objectives to tactical goals and objectives. It describes milestones, conditions for success and explains how, or what portion of, a strategic plan will be put into operation during a given operational period.

Alexandre
I am a bit confused at the question as it mixes several project and business terms and processes, so let me lay out my thinking and Anonymous can answer what makes sense.

Businesses are concerned with business management on two levels: (1) operational efficiency and management of current product/service lines (aka do things right) and (2) change management (new product acquisition, compliance, dealing with risks etc, or other names) (aka to the right things).

Depending on a business structure, a firm can incorporate project management into operations or stand it out on its own. In my experience, most of the time the two are separate but if you are working in a warehouse, you would tack project management under operational management.

From strategic project planning perspective, projects are broken into (A) portfolio that is broken into (B) programs that are broken into (C) separate projects.

What your, Anonymous, scenario speaks of, I assume, is the strategic product planning on the Executive level. It involves planning on portfolios of projects and it is more concerned about strategy than execution (so called tactical).
Maybe I am seeing it wrong, so please elaborate, I want to know more.
The way I always break it down is a hierarchy. Strategy drives tactics, tactics drive operations.

The operational plan is what you work to when things are running well. It is highly repeatable and sometimes called "standard work". The tactics are the guidelines you use to address variances from reality and the operational plan.

As a PM at a firm with very mature processes, our operational plan is our execution plan following the best practices when everything is going fine. We sometimes call this "The Happy Path". Once we stray off the happy path, we use our risk management strategies (tactics), to get out of the woods and back onto the path.

This is the value in PMs. If we could create an operational plan that everyone could follow throughout the duration, our jobs would end once Rev. New of the plan was created. That is not reality. We are the people needed when things go off-plan, to use the right tactics to manage the issues.

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