I’ve been thinking a lot recently about whether there is an ‘ideal’ way to structure a Planning department. Of course, I’ve come to the conclusion that just as there isn’t an ‘ideal’ agency model, there isn’t an ‘ideal’ Planning department structure to fit it.
Looking around the net, Russell has been posting about whether you need one genius or thirteen smart guys to solve a problem, while Gugoda responded to my post on Plannersphere with the comment ‘my belief and experience is that for planning to be successful it has to work with the environment in which it is based. In other words it has to be tailored to fit this wider context and operating realities’, which seems to make a lot of sense.
I think there’s also some kind of investment/return axis to illustrate the very specific point where an agency’s investment in Planning is most likely to actually generate a return – whether that be financial or in terms of effectiveness (which should eventually lead to monetary return anyway).
Return is likely to lag behind investment while a Planning function is under-resourced for the size or demands of the agency, but I’m sure you can have too many Planners as well – returns would eventually just level out.
Working out what that magic number and level of Planners is has the be the holy grail. Then, all you have to do is worry about how you’re going to demonstrate this wonderful effectiveness and return…