Understand how to make a tactical or action plan
Relation between action and strategic plans
The time dimension
How plans are used
Components of the planning process
Stages of the planning process
Vision and mission
Assumptions and forecasts
Check-list for plans
Review of plans
Allowance for the human factor
Commonsense and simplicity
Planning bottom-up and top-down: centralization vs decentralization
Description of the annual action plan
Skeleton of the annual action plan
Islam calls for simplicity and ease
Evaluation of a planning process
Check-list of an action plan
Preparing an action plan for a local organization
Analyzing the hijra of the Prophet as an example of action planning
Hypothetical action plan for the first year of the Islamic state at Madina
INSTRUCTIONS: THE DISCUSSION LEADER OR THE MEMBERS (IN TURNS) WILL PRESENT
THE MAIN POINTS IN THE BACKGROUND READING SECTIONS PRE-ASSIGNED THE PREVIOUS WEEK
Definitions: This chapter covers the main elements of an action plan,
a description of goals, objectives, tasks (what, who, when, how). An action plan is implementation of a selected portion of
the strategic plan. A series of tactical plans over several years accomplish the strategic objectives of the strategic plan.
An action plan usually covers a short period of time usually 1-2 years.
How plans are used: Plans can be used in three different ways: as standing
orders, as intermediate use plans, and as single use plans. Standing orders are policies, procedures, rules and regulations
that are followed in a routine way. Intermediate use plans are usually programs or projects of a certain duration and with
a specific objective or goal in mind. Single use plans are operational budgets, unit plans, and annual action plans
Components of Planning process: The planning process has 2 components:
(a) determination of objectives, an expression of intention or NIYYAT, and (b) formulation of actions to achieve those objectives.
Planning is an expression of intent, niyyat. Every human endeavor must have a niyyat for it to be of benefit. Niyyat also
implies commitment because you are supposed to undertake only purposive activities to whose completion you should morally
be committed. Formulation of actions to achieve set objectives is the essence of action planning
Stages of the planning process: The planning process must be systematic
and follow rational problem-solving stages. The planning process has the following stages: (1) environmental analysis (swot
process) (2) state vision and mission (3) niyyat and commitment (4) set goals: refinement of mission - key issues - general
ends to be achieved (5) set objectives: specific statement of results expected (6) collect and analyze information (7) make
assumptions/forecasts about missing information: controllable factors - uncontrollable factors (8) search for opportunities
(9) consider all alternative solutions (10) decide on best alternative (11) formulate action plans to achieve objectives:
define tasks needed to achieve objectives - delegate - set targets (12) communicate (13) set up control mechanisms (14) execution
of the plan (15) follow-up and follow-through (16) evaluation using goals as criteria
The Environment: The environment in which you are going to operate
must be understood. The internal environment are your strengths and weaknesses. The external environment are opportunities
Vision, mission, goals, and objectives: The vision and mission of the
tactical plan are derived from the strategic plan. Goals are the key issues that you want to address. They are general ends
to be reached. Good goals are challenging yet attainable. They are clear, specific, measurable, and time-phased. Objectives
are specific statements of results expected. They define a specific direction and are a basis for control. Good goals are
clear, they set targets, can be used to measure progress within a given time frame.
Information, assumptions, forecasts: Relevant information must be collected,
cross-checked, and used in planning. Assumptions and forecasts are made when information is not perfect and the unknown future.
In making forecasts a distinction must be made between controllable and uncontrollable factors. You can influence the former
but not the latter. All alternative approaches should be considered. The best, which is adopted as the plan, is found by elimination.
Check-list for plans: To check completeness of the plan you must ask
yourself 12 questions about the main elements of a plan: objective, implementors, those affected by the plan, methodology
of implementation, time of implementation, place of implementation, cost of the plan, barriers to implementation, contingency
plans, any other related plans, control and evaluation.
Review of plans: Plans must be reviewed regularly, either quarterly
Allowance for time and the human factor: The time scheduling should
allow for some float time to be able to absorb some delays of some stages without disturbing deadlines for the whole plan.
A good plan must make allowance for the human factor. Humans are not perfect. Things can not always go as planned.
Common sense and simplicity: Quite often poor plans are made when leaders
rely unduly on sophisticated statistical tools and forecasts made easily accessible by today's technology and forget the old
and tested tool of common sense. What may look sophisticated on paper will prove to be sheer nonsense in the field. The test
of a good plan is to be able to explain it to a teenager and he understands the main elements. Major mistakes are often hidden
in the high-ringing sophisticated jargon of today's planners.
Who plans: Participation of plan implementors in the planning process
increases commitment to the plan and helps its successful execution. Planning bottom-up (decentralisation) or top-down (centralisation)
can be used depending on the circumstances. In general it is better to plan bottom-up than top-down. Too much centralized
planning may make micro sense but prove to be micro nonsense in the field.
Contingencies: Because of limitations of information sources and inability
to forecast the future accurately, each action plan must include contingencies in case the main plan does not work or faces
Overplanning: The temptation to overplan must be resisted. Specific
details may have to be left to the initiative of the people in the field carrying out the plan. Their creativity and initiative
should not be stifled.
Description of the annual action plan: An annual action plan is a document
that charts course of action for 1 year and is consistent with general strategic plan. It sets out the objectives, goals,
time schedules of the various activities, as well as the required material and human resources. An action plan is a constraint
on 'crisis planning' since it anticipates events and plans for them and provides
a detailed guideline for those executing the program. An action plan can be prepared by the central leadership (centralized)
or the local leadership (decentralized). It is always best for the plan to be prepared by those who will be directly involved
in its implementation. An action plan requires quarterly reviews and should be modified should the need arise
Skeleton of the annual action plan: A good action plan should contain
the following elements (headings): Title, Vision,
Mission, Goals, Objectives for each goal,
Tasks for each objective, Detailed planning for each task: who is
responsible? - methodology - timing - place - human resources (compute person-time) - non-human resources (as money, material)
- expected result criteria of evaluation. Appendices: background information
used in planning - detailed description of methodology - resumes of key persons - details of budgetary computation
INSTRUCTIONS: READ OUT EACH TEXT ALOUD TWO TIMES. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND
THE MAIN POINTS RAISED. WRITE DOWN THE MAIN LESSON(S) YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THE TEXT
ISLAM CALLS FOR SIMPLICITY AND EASE
EVALUATION OF A PLANNING PROCESS
Think of any educational plan in whose formulation you were involved or about which you know very well
and determine whether each of the following stages of planning was followed in formulating the plan
(1) environmental analysis (swot process)
(2) state vision and mission
(3) niyyat and commitment
(4) set goals: refinement of mission - key issues - general ends to be achieved
(5) set objectives: specific statement of results expected
(6) collect and analyze information
(7) make assumptions/forecasts about missing information: controllable factors - uncontrollable factors
(8) search for opportunities
(9) consider all alternative solutions
(10) decide on best alternative
(11) formulate action plans to achieve objectives: define tasks needed to achieve objectives - delegate - set targets
(13) set up control mechanisms
(14) execution of the plan
(15) follow-up and follow-through (16) evaluation using goals as criteria
CHECK-LIST OF AN ACTION PLAN
Use the following check list of completeness to assess any educational action plan that you are familiar
(1) What is vision, mission, goals, objectives, tasks
(2) Who will implement this plan?
(3) Who will be affected by this plan?
(4) Wow will the plan be implemented?
(5) When will the plan be implemented?
(6) Where will the plan be implemented?
(7) What will the plan cost (human and material)?
(8) What are the likely barriers to implementation?
(9) What are the contingency plans if main plan fails?
(10) What are the related plans?
(11) How will the plan be controlled and evaluated?
PREPARING AN ACTION PLAN FOR A LOCAL ORGANIZATION
This exercise can be done by an individual or a small group. Think of a geographically and socially well-defined
Muslim community that you know very well or an organization to which you belong or whose operations are very familiar to you.
Outline a 1-year action plan to address a selected education issue. The action plan should be based on the general strategic
plan that you prepared in previous exercises.
Provide some basic information (50 words) on which your planning will be based: total population to be served,
socio-demographic characteristics, existing facilities and resources in the community, main elements of the long-term strategic
Since this is a class-room exercise and you have no time to prepare a comprehensive plan, choose only one field
List your vision, mission, goals, objectives, and tasks. Choose only one task and plan for it in detail. Follow
the following outline:
OBJECTIVES FOR EACH GOAL
TASKS FOR EACH OBJECTIVE
DETAILED PLANNING FOR ONE TASK
RESOURCES (COMPUTE PERSON-TIME)
RESOURCES (MONEY, MATERIAL)
ANALYZING THE HIJRA OF THE PROPHET AS AN EXAMPLE OF ACTION PLANNING
(a) What was the overall vision
(b) What was the mission?
(c) What were the goals?
(d) What were the objectives?
(e) What were the different tasks of the plan?
(f) For each task provide the following:
it carried out?
the task (start, end, timing)
was the task carried out?
the human resources involved?
the non-human resources involved?
the expected results?
(g) What were the opportunities and threats?
(h) What could have been the alternative contingency plans?
(i) Who would feel the impact of the plan if it succeeded?0
(j) How did Hijra contribute to the overall strategic plan?
(k) What lessons do you derive from Hijra for your local work?