In the business world, there are two types of people. Amateurs who talk about strategy. And then you have professionals who are all about execution.
This collection of our library's most popular execution plan templates is for the latter.
Alright - tell us if this has ever happened to you…
You and your team are in a meeting, and you've just presented your strategy. Everyone seems really pumped up and ready to take on the challenge.
But then what? At the first quarterly review, you're suddenly confronted with every leader's worst fear: not only did your team not make any significant progress, but they went in a completely different direction.
How can you avoid this common pitfall of every strategy execution?
In this article, we’ll walk you through the essential components of a highly effective execution plan. You’ll also get to choose your customizable strategy or project execution plan template, pre-filled with examples based on the use case or a team function.
This way, you can give your team a systematic approach and direction to stay on track and execute your strategy to deliver business results.
Execution Plan Checklist: 8 Things You Must Include To Support Your Team
Ok, time to roll up your sleeves and get ready to do some planning work before we jump into the template section. There are many methodologies (agile, lean, waterfall, balanced scorecard, etc.) that describe how strategies and projects should be planned, managed, and executed. Here’s a recap of the eight most important things you must include in your execution plan, no matter the methodology you follow with your team:
If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how can you get there? Well-defined and measurable team goals are vital to any plan. Having clear objectives to understand what success looks like and how you will measure progress is crucial. This will also help your team stay aligned with the direction and prevent drifting off course.
No. 2: Specific actions
Strategic planning requires turning big ideas into actionable projects or initiatives that your team can complete. Including actions in your execution plan will help team members focus, make it easier to track progress, and help you identify where to make adjustments.
No. 3: Deadlines
A start date, project schedule, and completion date will help you plan and prioritize, keep your execution roadmap on track, and ensure on-time completion. A good execution plan template will provide this functionality at the task, objective, project, and strategy levels.
No. 4: Milestones
Long-term business strategies and plans can often lose momentum. Milestones help divide your journey into manageable chunks—strategic goals—that will keep your team motivated and your progress on track. Creating key points that mark significant progress or achievements can help your team members stay on course.
No. 5: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Metrics should be used to evaluate the success of execution and its overall impact on the organization. Your execution plan template should allow you to use specific, measurable KPIs that make it possible to track progress and identify areas for improvement.
No. 6: Owners
Big plans are a team effort. By giving each goal or task to a specific person, it is clear who is in charge of making sure it gets done and who can be held accountable.
No. 7: Allocated budget
Project cost estimations are a good starting point, but they must be monitored. Consistently aligning your budget will ensure your plan remains realistic and achievable. It will also help you prioritize tasks and reallocate resources. Your execution plan template should make it simple to set and keep tabs on budget spending.
No. 8: Risk management
Every good strategist or team leader will identify and address potential risks or issues that can happen. Risk management is a proactive way to keep your execution plan on track and reduce the chance of problems. Does your execution plan have a risk analysis component to it?
So there you have it—the 8 things you need to include in your plan so you can write a highly effective execution plan that keeps your team engaged and on track.
The next step is to put all of this in the right place so your team can collaborate, share information, and deliver results.
Here are our 5 most popular execution plan templates you can use right away, whether you want high team engagement, a quick spike in project ROI, or faster business results. All five of them fit the criteria we outlined above.
1. Execution Plan Template
What do you want to achieve this year? This quarter? Or even this month?
When you define your strategy, it’s time to plan it out and execute it. You need to set clear priorities, goals, and action plans that will help you achieve your desired outcomes. But there’s more to it than just writing down goals and setting KPIs. You need to measure and monitor the execution of your strategy.
Cascade’s Execution Plan Template is a ready-to-use tool for strategic planning, goal setting, and performance management in any industry or on any team. With it, you can quickly develop a plan that will help you and your team bridge the gap between strategy and execution.
Executing strategy with this template will help you keep the focus on strategic priorities and set guardrails to prevent drifting in the wrong direction. You can use the prefilled examples or customize the template to ensure it fits your needs.
But why not just use spreadsheets? Using Cascade to manage and execute your strategy is more effective than using static tools like Excel, Google Sheets, PowerPoint, and Word Docs.
Cascade is a powerful execution platform with everything you need to plan, execute, and measure your strategy in one place.
With Cascade’s template, you get instant access to powerful features like live dashboards, collaboration tools, and the ability to track and measure your execution performance as it's happening.
💡Best for: Strategy leaders, department teams, or specific project teams who want to improve their performance, resource allocation, and double down on strategy execution in 2023. It’s applicable to strategy execution at the business, functional, or team level.
2. Project Execution Plan Template
The main goal of execution on a project level is to help organizations create value and ROI through specific initiatives. Using a project execution plan (PEP) can help you do this faster while making sure your cross-functional teams are rowing in the same direction.
If you want to get started with creating a PEP, try Cascade's Project Execution Strategy Template. It has prefilled focus areas, project objectives, and KPIs to help you define the project scope of work and use a work breakdown structure (WBS) effectively.
A strong project execution plan will have multiple project roles and teams overseeing the project lifecycle. Cascade’s planning features will help you customize the project name, project goals, and project tasks, as well as assign owners and add collaborators. You can also include project milestones, KPIs, and OKRs to measure progress.
And that’s not all...
With Cascade’s Dashboard and Reporting features, you’ll get high-level visibility into project status while also being able to drill down into individual tasks and activities.
💡Best for: PMOs, project managers, and project teams that need a central place to manage project work, implement project controls, and ensure successful project completion on time.
3. Go-To-Market Strategy Execution Template
With this customizable Go-To-Market Strategy Template, your team will be able to create a clear plan, monitor progress, and work proactively.
You’ll be able to set focus areas for your strategy and keep your cross-functional teams aligned around shared goals.
This template is also packed with free features, like Dashboards, Reports, and basic integrations with your favorite business tools, including Slack or Microsoft Suite.
With Cascade’s strategy execution and performance management features, you can track each initiative and adapt in real-time as early feedback and results on GTM tactics are gathered in one, centralized place.
Using a closed-loop execution approach will enable your GTM team to quickly adapt to your customers' shifting needs and create initiatives to meet them.
💡Best for: Business development managers, product managers, team leaders, or GTM teams who need a centralized tool to manage GTM initiatives and ensure a successful product or service launch.
4. Construction Execution Plan Template
Our Construction Execution Plan Template can help construction teams plan, monitor, and enhance construction execution and planning. With its easy-to-use design and simple interface, everyone from project managers to project team members can use it to handle the design, procurement, and logistical aspects of construction projects.
💡Best for: Strategy and project teams in the construction industry looking to streamline their construction project execution.
5. Change Management Plan Template
A change management strategy should help you deal with and manage organizational change in a way that minimizes the bad effects of change, takes advantage of transformation, and meets goals quickly. It should also help to communicate change openly to all project stakeholders.
If you need a framework for planning and executing a change management strategy, try our Change Management Plan Template.
It’s an excellent starting point for planning new change initiatives in 2023. But you can also use it if you want to enhance your existing change management execution plan.
Build change management projects that are inclusive and transparent with Cascade’s collaboration and reporting features. You can also use Cascade’s Strategy Dashboards to monitor change initiative outcomes against your baseline.
If you’re building an organization-wide execution plan, consider adding a communication plan, a training plan, and a risk management plan to your overall execution planning. In Cascade, you can build multiple execution plans and track all of them in one place, in real-time.
💡Best for: Change and transformation leaders in any organization that want to achieve their change goals and engage all stakeholders efficiently.
Execute With Cascade Templates 🚀
Remember that a strategy or project execution plan is a living document that will change as you progress toward your objectives. Don’t be afraid to pivot your approach if you need to.
Why settle for static spreadsheets and disconnected project management tools that are “slowing your performance” when you can start collaborating, planning, monitoring, and reporting on strategy execution all in one place?
Speed up your execution with a purpose-built tool like Cascade. And make sure your teams are working in the right direction and delivering results on time.
Spend less time setting up and starting from scratch. Get up and running with your execution plan with one of our templates. Our template library has more than 100 templates with pre-filled examples for different use cases and teams. Set it up in less than 20 seconds. And yes - they are free.
How do you write an execution plan?
If you want to write a good execution plan, you should co-create it with the people who will be in charge of executing it on the ground. In this way, you will be able to create a plan that takes into account possible internal constraints and risks that could derail execution down the road.
What is included in the execution plan?
The execution plan includes key elements like clear objectives, an action plan, KPIs, owners, and, most importantly - governance elements. This includes real-time dashboards and progress reports that will give you real-time visibility into performance.
What are the benefits of an execution plan?
The benefits of an execution plan include strategic clarity, performance visibility, and team engagement. With a clear execution plan, you can turn your strategy from an idea into a real plan that will help you reach your goals.
What are the steps in the project execution?
The key steps in the project execution are (1) setting the project scope, project objectives, and project deliverables; (2) developing an action plan; (3) setting a timeline; (4) assigning owners; (5) setting a budget; (6) defining KPIs; (7) measuring performance and conducting regular reviews.
What is the difference between a project execution plan and a project management plan?
The difference between a project execution plan and a project management plan is that a project execution plan outlines the specific steps that will be taken to deliver the project's objectives and deliverables. A project management plan, on the other hand, is a broader document that defines the processes and procedures that will be followed throughout the project’s lifecycle.