Our Thoughts on Strategic Planning

Productivity, accountability and development of public institutions

Posted by David Manyanza on Dec 5 2018

Chances are that at least 90% of the staff and Management in most public institutions would not know exactly what results they expect to achieve at the end of a quarter or year. Often achievement is mistakenly translated as implementation of activities. In the true sense of results, most staff and Managers work without clarity of results to be achieved. It is like walking without knowing where one is going.

The tradition of working focused on implementing activities without clarity of results to be achieved is a major cause of inefficiency, poor staff motivation and poor service delivery. Consequently, return on budget, as expressed by achievement of results, remains unacceptably low. Continue reading...

How important is results based management?

Posted by David Manyanza on Oct 31 2018

Strictly speaking results based management (RBM) is another phrase for management by objectives (MBO), which was spearheaded by Peter Drucker in the nineteen fifties. It has also come to be known by other names such as performance based management (PBM). MBO is a comprehensive and systematic managerial approach that is sharply focused on the effective and efficient achievement of organizational objectives. Whatever the name, the common thread is the emphasis of focus on achievement of results as the object of any management activity.

When it is recognized that objectives and performance are nothing other than results to be delivered to customers, the connection between the different names is glaring. By definition, objectives deliver value to customers as they essentially seek to satisfy customer felt needs. Continue reading...

Why activity based budgeting

Posted by David Manyanza, Patrick Manyanza on May 5 2016

Welcome to another episode of the DSC podcast. In this episode David and Patrick talk about how Activity Based Budgeting creates more value in an organization.

Importance of strategic planning

Posted by David Manyanza, Patrick Manyanza on Apr 1 2016

Welcome to the inaugural episode of the DSC podcast. In this episode David and Patrick talk about the importance of Strategic Planning for organizations.

Are incorrect Strategic Objectives a waste of resources?

Posted by David Manyanza on Jun 18 2013

I wrote in my previous blog post that based on, though limited, data collected from strategic plans of public organizations, many strategic objectives are incorrectly formulated. If objectives do not properly focus organizational efforts on meeting customer needs or delivering the required service, then such strategic plans are less helpful in making organizations perform effectively and efficiently. But what does having incorrect objectives actually mean? Does it, for example, mean that organizations implementing such strategic plans are simply wasting resources?

Unfortunately, the answer is not as clear-cut as that. While incorrectly stated strategic objectives are a problem because they blur the focus of organizational efforts, the correct answer is that it may not be a total waste of resources. It does, nevertheless, constitute inefficient resources use resulting into considerable wastage. We have come across organizational objectives such as, "Staff capacity improved" or "Management systems improved." These are not objectives at organizational level; Continue reading...

How good are the Strategic Plans of public organizations?

Posted by David Manyanza on May 15 2013

As a result of public service reforms, strategic planning has become an essential feature of performance management in public organizations, in Tanzania, in the last couple of decades. Many organizations are now in their fourth and fifth generation of medium term strategic plans ranging in duration from three to five years with this duration having been recently standardised to five years. Since a strategic plan represents the sole organizational strategy on the basis of which an organization is not only funded but also its performance is measured, the importance of strategic plans cannot be overstated.

What makes strategic plans particularly important is not so much the strategy to be employed but rather the results to be achieved. Results form the focus of the entire organization as they represent the goals to be achieved in a medium term. Results drive and help to prioritize activities to be implemented thus optimizing resource use. A critical feature of results is that they are not found within the organization; they are found outside it where customers or service beneficiaries are. Although this is somewhat obvious, when it is considered that organizations are formed to address existing needs in society, this notion tends to elude many organizations when formulating strategic objectives.

A strategic plan is as good as its objectives, Continue reading...

The importance of setting the right organizational objectives

Posted by David Manyanza on Oct 3 2012

Too often organizational objectives are incorrectly set in too many strategic plans. It is all too common to see organizational objectives set as achievement of processes. It is not unusual to encounter objectives such as a “certain Policy Developed”, “Production Improved”, or “Staff Training Implemented” to the extent that it is pertinent and important to ask the questions: What are organizational objectives? How can they be set?

Obviously, objectives can be set for different purposes but at the level of an organization objectives must be statements of the level or quantity of results that must be achieved by an organization in a particular period and which address the needs of the beneficiaries of the services provided by the organization. Beneficiaries of services are otherwise called customers. Results must, therefore, be a certain level of service to be delivered to customers in a particular period. As such organizational objectives are not only outward looking in nature but are also achievements that benefit people outside the organization. Continue reading...

Common pitfalls in strategic planning

Posted by David Manyanza on Feb 8 2012

Strategic planning is a process of preparing what essentially amounts to a winning strategy of an organization for a specified medium term. It is a plan which, for service organizations, specifies results of enhanced service delivery to be achieved in a given period of time. The importance of the plan is that it acts as a well thought road map of the organization for a specified period of time. As a road map the strategic plan is a dynamic and responsive framework which guides the future but it must continually be critically reviewed during development of rolling annual operational plans to take cognizance of any pertinent emerging changes. Still a strategic plan is a winning plan because it seeks to ensure that this time round the organization performs much better than before in terms of serving its customers or service beneficiaries. Consequently, good consecutive strategic plans are important in order to maintain high level of an organization’s service delivery.

Such continuously improved and sustained service delivery has dual advantages. Firstly, it keeps customers satisfied and happy of the services the organization provides. Secondly, as a result of customers being satisfied and happy with the organization’s services, the organization itself benefits in that its existence is not only justified but more importantly its sustainability is enhanced. Continue reading...