How to Write an Execution Plan

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What is an execution plan, and what are its key components? Execution plans can be written for a number of professional or personal reasons. They can greatly increase chances of success regarding business operations and personal projects. Writing an execution plan requires that details are outlined, specific resources are noted and instructions are clear and concise.
Execution plans differ from general business or marketing plans. Business and marketing plans are usually an overview of who, what, when, where, why and how of general operations. They may have several unrelated strategies and goals. Execution plans are more explicit with details about specific actions to be taken at specific times by specific people. This way, any one reading the plan would understand and interpret the required steps.

Introduce the purpose of the plan. Summarize objectives and outcomes that should be reached after executing the plan. This can be done in one or two paragraphs.

Refine goals and demonstrate in bullet form or in a short paragraph. For example, “Car Company XYZ is celebrating 50 years in the community. During this period, XYZ wants to raise awareness about the latest model and increase quarterly sales by 10 percent.”

Determine who will be affected by the goals. Consider the users, potential customers, affiliate organizations and also the employees who will execute the plan. If this is a personal plan, consider which relationships will need to be fostered or who needs to know about the plan.

Strategies and Tactics

Detail specific tactics and tools for each person to perform.
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Outline the approach and methods to be used in the execution. This is a more detailed explanation of the goals and objectives mentioned before. The strategic outline is a crucial foundation for laying out details in the execution plan. Car Company XYZ may include nostalgic memorabilia in their media plan, sponsor community events and redecorate their showroom. Done efficiently, strategic outlines will help the reader create a mental map of assignments.

Write out specific tactics needed to execute each strategy. This task, or "to do" list should be noted in detail, and will most likely be the bulk of the execution plan. For example, sponsoring community events is one of Car Company XYZ’s strategies. A progressive list of tactics may be to research major community events, contact program coordinators with sponsorship offer, produce or select advertising banners or promotional giveaways to be used during the event, pay sponsorship fees and attend the event.

Delegate which individual or vendor will be responsible for supervising the execution of each tactic.

Resources and Timeline

Effective execution plans include details about resources needed.
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Note specific resources that are needed to make the execution successful. Such dependencies may include finances, people, technology, products and services. Be clear about the quantity and the quality of resources needed.

Layout specific dates or designate execution completion dates for each task. If some tasks are dependent on others, then be sure to list the tasks in appropriate order on a calendar.

Review the timing of the event to anticipate delays in mail delivery or vendor services due to holidays. Are there deadlines or turnaround times to consider? For example, when conducting a grand opening, schedule a meeting with an advertising designer well in advance of announcing the event.


  • Always predetermine key performance outcomes before executing the plan. Will success be measured by the ability to stay on time and within budget? Were sales increased? Did the company gain favorable media attention? Summarizing answers to these question will communicate expectations. When working with teams, this serves as a method of accountability between members and prioritizes the overall objective of the plan.


  • “New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century;” Timmons/ Spinelli, Jr.; 2009
  • “Entrepreneurship Strategy;” Gundry and Kickul; 2007

About the Author

Since 1999, Christina Callaway has written and developed marketing communications programs for a range of small businesses, start-up ventures and Fortune 500 companies. She is also a speaker and trainer specializing in integrated communications.

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