On it, there was progress at first. Promotion achieved following the pain of the administration-inflicted (self-done of course) relegation, European qualification achieved in their first season back in the big time.... it seemed that Hearts had put up the 'business is back to usual' sign.
But the grand plan hit a brick wall somewhere along the line and for the past 18 months, instead of manoeuvring away from it, the team and coaching staff seem intent on hitting said wall again and again and again.
The Ian Cathro gamble didn't pay off. Hoping he would be Hearts' own Julian Nagelsmann (another 20-something coach who guided German side Hoffenheim into the Champions League), the only thing Cathro had in common with Julian was his age.
Director of Football, Craig Levein, was asked by owner Ann Budge to take the managerial reins in the hope an experienced pair of hands would get the team back on track.
While he did stabilise the ship at first, Levein hasn't yet been able to demonstrate that he can move the team forward.
One can point to the 4-0 demolition of Celtic but then Cathro enjoyed a similar routing of Rangers. Building on such wins and endeavouring to get the same level of performance for every game is the mark of a good team,
Hearts haven't and the league table position and dismal cup exit at Motherwell last week doesn't lie. They are currently an average team bordering on the verge of dropping down to the level of being a mediocre one.
Levein can point to this, that and the other to explain away the current malaise but the keener-eyed amongst us saw last night's dismal derby show at Hibs coming.
Sure there were injuries he had to contend with but it wasn't that long ago that the worst Hearts side ever, packed with kids that - Jamie Walker and Callum Paterson aside - had no business playing top-flight football, won four out of five Edinburgh derbies.
They had the excuse of administration, players being let go, an under-qualified manager in Gary Locke and a 15-point deduction and while most of them were not the most talented of players, they couldn't be faulted for effort.
The current crop, on paper, are at a higher level than the 2013/14 team yet you wouldn't have known it during the first half against Motherwell and the second period against Hibs.
Good teams play for the full 90 minutes. Hearts switch off for long chunks of the game these days and by the time they wake up, the damage done is irretrievable.
The best they can hope for is a top six place but given there are no open-top bus parades for this, it would be a Pyrrhic achievement and would only paper over the cracks that currently exist.
Recruitment seems have gone in a wayward direction of late. For every David Milinković and Kyle Lafferty, there is a Maulary Martin and an Abiola Dauda.
Levein as Director of Football had a higher success rate with his recruitment strategy at first. Osman Sow, Alim Ozturk, Mongaro Gomis, Prince Bauben, Miguel Pallardo, Igor Rossi, James Keating, Adam Eckersley.... they served Hearts well.
Bauben is still there, although it appears he may have parked in Levein's parking space hence the amount of time he's spending on the bench.
While the departures of Sow and Rossi were unavoidable - cash talks and Hearts would have been foolish not to take the big fee offered for the former, you wonder if some of the rest could not have stuck around given their replacements.
Perry Kitchen flattered to deceive, Juanma only turned up when he felt like it and as for the car-crash that is Juwon Oshaniwa.....
There have been others who haven't been up to scratch, including the lorry-load of duds that Levein brought in 14 months ago to save Cathro's neck.
In his first spell as manager of Hearts, his recruitment on a very tight budget was more often than not spot on. Mark de Vries, Paul Hartley, Phil Stamp, Kevin McKenna, Andy Webster..... enough to make Hearts fans forget about the odd bad one like Ramón Pereira.
This time around, the bad eggs are threatening to outweigh the good purchases. Signing two good strikers such as Kyle Lafferty and Steven Naismith is all well and good but they need a midfield of equal quality to provide them with the service that all forwards crave.
Youth players are showing promise and Harry Cochrane looks like being one for the future. But Levein will know from his own playing career that he himself needed a Sandy Jardine figure alongside him to ensure that he would be a top centre-half for the club.
Cochrane needs a similar figure right now and he doesn't have one. Something that should have been addressed by the man in charge of recruitment.
Levein was asked by Budge to assume the management role because she felt there were no suitable candidates for the job from those who did apply when Cathro was sacked.
One wonders why she herself didn't take the approach that Kilmarnock did when they went manager hunting.
The Ayrshire club thought outside the box and landed Steve Clarke. Should Hearts have gone in for him and have Levein shuffle back into his Director of Football role? Maybe they thought that a man who has cut it down south would be unobtainable. They may have thought his wage demands would be too high and that he might see coming back to Scotland as a step back in his career.
Sadly for Hearts, the old adage of "if you don't ask, you don't get" was applied by Kilmarnock who asked for and got their man.
Look at Kilmarnock now. A meteoric rise up the table has led to talk of European football being played at Rugby Park. Not bad for a club who not so long ago needed to beat Falkirk to avoid relegation.
Not to mention Clarke's reputation has shot up in value. His own stock is now high again - so high that he was being spoken of as a possible candidate for the Scotland job when it was available.
As for Levein. Like Cathro last year, the summer transfer window will be crucial. He needs to recruit new blood that can get Hearts moving up the table again. Otherwise, Budge will have a decision to make which might not be as difficult as some might think.
In his first spell as Hearts manager, Levein had to deal with the infighting between the supporters and the-then owner Chris Robinson with the club's financial future itself being in peril.
He coped admirably with bargain signings that in the main served Hearts well, brought in two third place finishes and campaigns in Europe that brought two memorable nights in Bordeaux and Braga.
Levein does not have the off-field turmoil to deal with this time around. Hearts off the pitch are settled.
He walked away late in 2004 because he was fed-up of the financial shenanigans plagueing the club at the time.
That excuse is no longer on the table. Improvement is needed lest someone at board level decides it's time for Levein to once again, walk away.