The High Risks of Neglecting Business Planning

The High Risks of Neglecting Business Planning

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Successful IT Projects Begin with Business Planning

In today's fast-paced business environment, the temptation to dive right into a new Information Technology (IT) project is strong. This is especially true for innovative technologies like generative artificial intelligence projects that are currently all the rage.

If you're implementing an IT project without a solid business plan that supports it, read on to understand the high risks involved.

Neglecting business planning when going forward with an IT development project is a recipe for failure, regardless of the industry, scale, or size of the enterprise.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail" is a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin.

Based on my own experience and the experience of others, when we skip due diligence planning to 'save time', what we are doing is opting to invest two or three times the actual amount of time we would have invested in the first place. Targeted research and planning can provide a significant return on the time invested when considering a new initiative or project.

Any perceived time-savings from a lack of planning is just an illusion. We'll end up planning anyway, except we'll be under more stress dealing with the consequences of our quick actions, while we do the planning that would have avoided the now wasted time, energy, and other resources.

The Importance of Planning for Success

In 2023, I witnessed the failure of a generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) start-up venture to capitalize on a successful marketing pitch by a respected AI marketer influencer.

The venture clearly had not planned for what could occur from a successful marketing promotion. New customers were unable to receive needed support services. The marketer, responding to his complaints from his followers, also received no satisfaction from the business venture providing the AI platform.

As a result, the marketer abandoned the AI platform provider, moving on to promote a competing product, along with his large base of followers.

This new venture may never recover from the lost trust of customers and partner stakeholders. A review of the business plan should have raised questions about how new customers would receive customer support services, to match the mass marketing plan that was engaged. 

The Bigger they are..

Large corporate and government projects backed by billions of dollars in investment are not immune to failure due to a lack of planning and resolving issues and concerns that are a part of planning.

Best practices that govern successful businesses and IT projects apply to corporate entities, government projects and start-up entrepreneurial ventures, alike.

The Business Plan: Your Venture's Cornerstone

A Building's Integrity Rests on the Soundness of its Foundation

A business plan is the foundation on which your entire operation rests. It isn't just a document; it's a roadmap that guides your venture from startup to growth.

A sound business plan that is maintained enables your team to sustain business operations and key programs like product development and customer service fulfillment.

Visual Workflow Diagrams: The Unsung Heroes

Visual workflow diagrams are invaluable business planning tools for mapping out business processes and data flows. They can highlight gaps and inefficiencies that may not be apparent in text-only process descriptions.

Workflow diagrams provide business managers and IT developers with needed context, which is key to developing and testing applications that will meet stakeholders' needs.

Best Practice: Periodic Plan Updates

Strategic planning is not a one-and-done event. It's an ongoing program governed by structured processes and best practice frameworks, supported by business leaders at every level of an organization.

How often to review and update a business plan and supporting management documentation depends on what's occurring with the business, the supporting IT platforms, applications, and other technologies that support critical aspects of the business.

As a general guideline, business plans should be reviewed and updated quarterly. When there are significant changes in the business environment or a new IT project is proposed, business planning should begin prior to or soon after the IT project conceptualization project phase has begun.

Web-based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications like Lucidchart coupled with Tim Berry's Lean Business Planning framework, are invaluable resources for navigating the business planning journey efficiently and effectively.


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