PLANS: This is how we model


PLANS is the new standard for Anaplan modeling—“the way we model.” This covers more than just the formulas and includes and evolves existing best practices around user experience and Data Hubs. It is a set of rules on the structure and detailed design of Anaplan models. This set of rules will provide both a clear route to good model design for the individual Anaplanner and common guidance on which Anaplanners and reviewers can rely when passing models amongst themselves. 

In defining the standard, everything we do will consider or be based around:

Performance – Use the correct structures and formula to optimize the Hyperblock

Logical – Build the models and formula more logically – See D.I.S.C.O. below

Auditable – Break up the formula for better understanding, performance, and maintainability

Necessary – Don’t duplicate expressions. Store and calculate data and attributes once and reference them many times. Don't have calculations on more dimensions than needed

Sustainable – Build with the future in mind, thinking about process cycles and updates


The standards will be based around three axes:

  • Performance - How do the structures and formula impact the performance of the system?
  • Usability/Auditability - Is the user able to understand how to interact with the functionality?
  • Sustainability - Can the solution be easily maintained by model builders and support?

We will define the techniques to use that balance on the three areas to ensure the optimal design of Anaplan models and architecture.


As part of model and module design, we recommend categorizing modules as follows:

Data – Data Hubs, transactional modules, source data; reference everywhere

Inputs – Design for user entry, minimize the mix of calculations and outputs

System – Time management, filters, list attributes modules, mappings, etc.; reference everywhere

Calculations – Optimize for performance (turn summaries off, combine structures)

Outputs -  Reporting modules, minimize data flow out


Why build this way?



  • Fewer repeated calculations
  • Optimized structures and formulas


  • Data and calculations reside in logical places
  • Model data flows can be easily understood


  • Model structure can be easily understood
  • Simplified formula (no need for complex expressions)


  • Formulas and structures are not repeated
  • Data is stored and calculated once, referenced many times, leading to efficient calculations


  • Models can be adapted and maintained more easily
  • Expansion and scaling simplified

Recommended Content:







The content in this article has not been evaluated for all Anaplan implementations and may not be recommended for your specific situation.
Please consult your internal administrators prior to applying any of the ideas or steps in this article.

In taking the SA training, this article fully resonates with me now.  Loving all the options presented for system module options.

@carol.jackson Great to hear - Thanks for the comments

Hi @DavidSmith 

Great article really like the acronyms and concept. 

It would be really beneficial if for each section there was a link to the article or best practice guide for that section. For example 'Performance' links to a performance guide. 


Great idea.  This page was always intended as a landing page.  I'll get our team onto it

Thanks for the suggestion



As you'll see, this is now done



@DavidSmith Thanks for this! It is very useful! 

FYI this link doesn't open... Err "Sorry, this content no longer exists."


@AnyaS Hi Anya - the AMA series has been replaced with the Anaplan Live! Spotlight series. The link should redirect you. Please make sure you're logged in, and give it a try! 

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