BTO Update: How to write an operating plan

Boardroom table

An operating plan, also referred to as a business plan, is a detailed document that provides a clear picture of how a department or business unit contributes to achieving overall organizational strategic goals.

The operating plan addresses four questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How do we get there?
  • How do we measure our progress?

What are the components of an operating plan?

When writing your operating plan, set aside some time to think through and define each of the following areas:

  • Business strengths. How well does your business unit operate? What is the quality and satisfaction with your services and solutions?
  • Business challenges. Consider all of the constraints and concerns interfering with your unit’s ability to deliver services and solutions.
  • Your organization’s strategic objectives. Create a list of the objectives deemed most important to the current and future health of our Faculty and your business unit.
  • Operational goals. Outline what your unit needs to achieve so that it can reduce challenges and align with strategic objectives. Successful goals are defined by metrics and benchmarks. When creating operational goals, be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
  • Action plans. List the tasks and initiatives your unit needs to complete to achieve operational goals.
  • Resources needed. Think through all of the resources or services required to complete your action plans.
  • Budget needs. Define the finances required to support your action plans.
  • Your 1- to 2-year roadmap. Create a schedule for when action plans will be implemented.


diagram showing flow of business planning


Who should be involved in writing the operating plan?

Operating plans should be prepared by people who will be involved in their implementation. There is often a need for significant cross-departmental dialogue as plans created by one part of the Faculty inevitably have implications for other parts.

Operating plans should be reviewed and updated regularly to keep you, your team and your service providers on track.

Want to know more about how to develop your business unit’s operating plan and how you can make a difference in the quality and effectiveness of Faculty of Medicine services? Contact the BTO.

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