We really can’t underestimate the importance of a plan. Planning is a prerequisite to all programs, process development and endeavours that are anchored to our set missions, visions and philosophies. Plan is a logical and there are systematic steps that must be followed to ensure the achievement of an objective and through well-planned plan. Yes sir and madam, you read it right, since we all know that plan is the basic foundation of every programs and actions out there. We have to learn how to plan our plan so our plan will turn out the way we planned it to. I also got lost there so let us make things easier.

In my experience in the corporate world for 9 years (been working since 17 and while taking my 1st undergraduate program), I learned (and still learning) that all good things begin with a good plan. Below is the SMART way of planning that I would like to share and I am quite sure that we are all familiar with the follow acronym:

S for Specific
Before, I used to set vague targets like “We have to deliver 200 residential units in 1 year” but now, it is “We have to deliver 200 residential units in 1 year wherein the 60% will come from in-house channel and the 40% will come from brokers and we have real estate associates that will deliver 5% of the target for buffer”. Yes, through experience and studying, I learned the importance of making detailed and very specific plan, not only this makes the vision very clear but specific plan can also be use as a guide throughout the program. The “Ws” (What, why, where, when, which, who etc.) should be answered by the plan.

M for Measurable
Setting a timeline allows us to measure our progress and gauge if the plan is still doable or needs revision. The measurable factors of a plan should be quantifiable or quantitative in nature. Instead of “Let us deliver the units on December”, it should be “Let us deliver at least 90% of the 200 units on the 15th of December and the remaining 30 days for documentations purposes.”

A for Attainable
Plan should be doable, practical and attainable. We have to consider the present resources (and potential sources) when planning so we will discern in the beginning if the plan is really possible or not. We have to be pragmatic in drafting a plan and not be carried off to the land of idealism, sometimes we are too enthusiastic about the fruits of our programs that we tend to forget the innate challenges and issues embedded in running a program like manpower requirements, time, etc.

R for Realistic
This is very close to attainable, goals should be realistic and can be done with current resources and connections, it is nice to include potential sources of resources but plan should be anchored to the most conservative amount of resources (so the plan is resilient for worst case scenarios). Instead of “We have to deliver 2,000 units this year”, it should be “Our target is 2,000 but according to sales trend, marketing support and cancellation trend, the best projected sales is pegged at 300 while 200 as the worst performance.”

T for Timely
By putting exact figures, we will be motivated with sense of urgency and we will be grounded on realism. Without time, it is easy to procrastinate and be defocused easily. Instead of saying “I will deliver 10 units this month”, the better version is “I will deliver 3 units every week for me to hit my monthly target.”

In this module, planning health programs also follow these basic principles for planning our plan. Since health programs heighten our survival rate and alleviates our living condition, it is important that a program is grounded on these principles and followed/guided by a concrete and systematic model like the PRECEDE-PROCEED model or the MAPP (especially if the program is participatory in nature and covers many groups of individuals). Careful and effective planning is important since this entails efforts and resources from people and worse, a poorly-planned program can cause more harm than good if the plan is poorly-planned.

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