Rather than create one large plan you can create a number of smaller, more manageable
plans, and then link them together. Linking small plans together also gives you more
control over who can access which plans.
However, dealing with linked plans can be unfamiliar at first so it's important to
understand how they work before trying to use them.
Hint: Linking/Unlinking plans changes their structure, so
you need Controller access to a plan in order to change its linking options.
How Linked Plans Work
When we link plans together in 81Boxes we end up with two plans, with one
position which is common to both. This 'Linked Position' appears on both plans, and
is always the top position on the lower plan. In 81Boxes, we essentially treat
the Linked Position as belonging to the upper plan (for editing, security, etc.) but being
visible on the lower plan. The effect is as follows.
While on the upper plan, you can:
- See the Linked Position as normal.
- Make changes to the Linked Position (like renaming it,), which affects the lower plan.
- Delete the Linked Position, breaking the link and leaving the lower plan with
its own copy of that position.
- Add/Change holders and candidates on the linked position, which are not visible on the lower plan.
- Add/Change other positions which report to the linked position, without affecting the lower plan.
- On the Organisation Viewer, follow the link down to the lower plan.
While on the lower plan, you:
- Can see the Linked Position at the top of the plan, but it is 'read only'.
- Cannot make changes to the Linked Position (e.g. cannot rename).
- Cannot add/change holders and candidates on the linked position.
- Can add/change other positions which report to the linked position, without affecting the upper plan.
- Can, on the Organisation Viewer (and if permissions allow), follow the link up to the upper plan.
Hint: You can create links to multiple lower plans from the same Linked Position, for example to create alternative scenarios.
But be aware that things can get complicated as the number of links increases, and remember: you can always link plans up
later, so if in doubt, create separate plans first and link them up later if it helps you to keep things organised.
How to do it?
'Shortcuts' to the Link-related functions are included in appropriate menus throughout the Succession
Planning area of 81Boxes.
They can also all be found in one place by choosing 'Configure Plan Linking' in the menu for an
individual plan. There you can see how the current plan is linked up to others, with options to remove/create links or split/join
Linking and Unlinking
Linking two existing plans
If you have two existing plans which you'd like to link together, first identify how they should fit together.
You need to identify the following:
- An 'upper' plan. Representing the higher levels in your organisation, it may need more tightly-restricted access.
- A 'lower' plan. Representing the lower levels in your organisation, it may need less tightly-restricted access.
- A Linked Position. This position will be common to both plans, and will be the top position of the lower plan.
Once you've identified these, go to the upper plan
, and choose 'Configure Plan Linking'. You want to Link this
Plan to an existing plan, so choose that. You'll then be asked to specify the Linked Position, followed by the lower plan. Because
linking up will change the lower plan, you must have Controller access to it, and it cannot already be the lower plan of another link.
Careful: When you link down to an existing plan, that lower plan's top position is removed and the chosen
Linked Position takes its place at the head of the plan. This is because when you link two plans together, you're telling 81Boxes
that there is just one position which is common to both plans: the Linked Position.
Extending a plan
If you have an existing plan that you want to extend without it getting larger, you can Link it to a new plan.
You'll be choosing a position on your plan that you would like to extend down from, and creating a new plan which starts at that position.
So, from the 'Configure Plan Linking' page on your current plan, choose to Link this plan to a new plan. You'll just be asked to specify
the Linked Position which will become the top position of your new (lower) plan, and a name for the lower plan. Your new lower plan will
be created with the same sharing options as your existing plan, so if you want to restrict access further you'll need to go to the new
plan and adjust those options accordingly.
Unlinking two plans
If two plans are linked together, that link can be broken from either plan to leave two independent plans.
Go to the 'Configure Plan Linking' page for either plan, find the link you'd like to remove and click 'Unlink'.
When you do this, the plans become completely separate: each plan will have its own copy
of the original Linked Position, and they can move their separate ways. No other changes are made to either plan.
Splitting and Joining
Splitting a plan in two
Splitting a plan allows you to take one large plan, and split it into two smaller ones. You can do this from the 'Configure Plan
Linking' page for the plan. When we split a plan in two, we actually create a new lower plan and move the lower positions onto it.
You'll need to choose the Linked Position which will become the top position of the lower plan, and a name for the lower plan.
The following changes are made:
- Original (upper) plan: Positions below the Linked Position are moved onto the new lower plan.
- New (lower) plan: Created with the given name, and contains the Linked Position along with all positions below it.
Sharing options are the same as the original plan and may need to be restricted, but other information (like Notes) are not copied.
Joining a plan to its parent
When you have two smaller plans that you'd like to become one larger one, you need to join them together. In 81Boxes you join 'upwards', the
lower plan adding to the upper one - its parent. To do this, go to the 'Configure Plan Linking' page for the lower plan, and
choose 'Join this plan back to its parent'.
Careful: Positions on the lower plan will be moved up onto the parent plan, but any other information
relating to the lower plan (e.g. comments) will be lost. Where information can be sensibly transferred up to the parent plan along with the
positions (like notes and attachments), you'll be given a choice to either move them up, or lose them.
Controlling Security with Linked Plans
In the Succession Planning area of 81Boxes, you can Share plans with others.
However, you can't control access to individual bits
(e.g. positions/holders/candidates) of a single Plan, only to the Plan as a whole. However, using
multiple smaller plans allows you to individually set the sharing options for each plan, perhaps
restricting access to the higher-level plans.
For example, you can restrict access to the Executive-level succession plan, while still allowing
colleagues in Finance and IT access to the respective linked plans for their areas
- of course, privileged users will be able to see both and move between.