The Plan-Execute-Measure Annual Planning Model

The Discipline of Planning

In the last five days of the year, I use the time to create my overall annual plan. Why do I plan? I create my plan for the same reason that I create a spreadsheet for dinner parties. My family always gets a kick out of my spreadsheet for Christmas dinner, which outlines all of the different meals and the timing and prep that’s associated with each part. Honestly, if I didn’t do it this way, half the food would be cold and inedible. I like the structure. For me, having the overall plan with all of the moving parts timed and executed flawlessly is very pleasing to me. 

Planning is important.  When I was in software development, over 90% of projects failed to meet their goals. Why? Well, the way it used to work is that project requirements were gathered and the systems were planned and then a long time later a system was delivered.  It is the same thing with annual planning – you set a plan in motion at the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year, you check to see what happened.  The time elapsed from beginning to end is too long and traditional planning methods don’t allow for the things that change along the way.  Today in software development we hear a lot about Agile development.  It uses a process of continuous and iterative planning to change continuous improvements along the journey. Switching to a more iterative approach in tech development improved the delivery rate to over 65%.  So I use this agile approach in my PEM) planning process.

The Plan-Execute-Measure (PEM) method of planning, execution and measurement it has transformed my business and those of my clients into high-performing growth organizations.  You can read more about how it works in my blogs.  Follow along in the process and you too can achieve your goals.

Let me give you a little look into the Plan-Execute-Measure (PEM) planning process.  This is how it starts:

During the last five weekdays of the year, I Plan (P) and dream, and visualize the future. During this week I spend most of my time hitting the reset button and getting ready for a new year. I take the time to create the Vision. For some people, vision is fluff, and they skip it. I urge you not to skip it. It is the lynchpin of your success and you’ll have to take my word on this one.

Execute (E) – represents the next 11 weeks of executing the plan for a total of 55 days. You follow the outlined tasks and at the end of this period, you use the last 5 days to measure!

The last Five in the Plan-Exetue-Measure (PEM) method is the 5-day week of Measur(e)-ing (M) what happened in the prior 55 workdays. I don’t include weekends. You deserve downtime. You have to determine whether or not your first 55 days of the year yielded results.  You get to measure, reframe, replan and get ready to repeat the cycle.

If you follow this plan, you always wind up with 5 days of plan in the last 5 days of the year and the next cycle of plan usually starts at the end of March, the end of June, and the end of September.

I invite you to try my system for yourself and see what a difference it makes.


I recently read a case study of the Millennium Dome, a dome built in the Greenwich peninsula in south east London, designed for the celebration purpose at the time of third Millennium. At the time of construction, it was considered as the mega structure in the world with respect to its size the Dome has a theme park and a scientific exhibition both which is entitled as the Millennium experience. The Millennium Dome closed on 31st of December 2000 because it failed to attract the number of visitors which was expected to visit the place and results in many financial problems. As a result, the Dome has been sold and converted into a sports arena. I highlight this case because the reasons this project failed is common to many other projects.  Everything in life is a project.  From planning a small dinner party with 30 to 40 people to building a mega-Dome, the message is the same. You need a good framework and structure to guide you through it. Here are the reasons the dome failed – do you run across any of them in your projects?

  • Lack of vision: The project was not properly planed; they were unclear with the scope of the project.
  • Poor execution: poor execution cause lackluster content resulting in negative experiences for visitors and the resulting negative PR stemming for those experiences.
  • Criticisms: Initial reaction from the press was poor. Lack of content, themes and creativity were the common factors of criticism.
  • Lack of sufficient operational expertise: The Company lacked sufficient operational expertise. Running such a major attraction called for specific operational expertise quite distinct from that required to construct the Dome.
  • Poor marketing strategies: Marketing and sales strategies were based on the Dome selling itself. Sometimes you build it and they don’t come.
  • Financially mismanaged project: It was financially a mismanaged project which was failed to attract new visitors. Throughout the planning and construction phase the cost raises which results in more and more dispersion of money to dome’s builders
  • Lack of contingency plan: Due to lack of contingency plan they were failed to manage expectations.