Planning is not the same as strategy. Planning is informed by strategy, and is the effective marshalling of resources to meet strategic goals.
The best is the enemy of the good. In the Trust we always try to do complex things 100% right first time, and arguably the planning process was one of them. Unsurprisingly, we do not often succeed. The planning process like many others can be an incremental one, not perfect from day one, but getting better every time. A small step successfully completed is worth more than a large step missed at this stage of the organisation’s development.
Conformity and standardisation in planning documents are tidy but unnecessary. What is needed is appropriate legibility and consistency. The CEO and EMT need to read across the whole organisation at a highlight level, where they can look at the balance of priorities, the match of activity against strategic objectives, levels of organisational risk, and agree resource commitments. With consistency at this level, whatever happens below it should be what works best with the teams implementing the plan. Demanding a one-size-fits-all format for every layer of planning consumes time and provides little benefit.
The Trust is designed in an organisational form which routinely requires complex internal exchanges to make it work. In practice it is not one organisation with a single intent, but a series of separate parts, most with their own individual definition of local optima.
Budgeting is not the same as costing.