Planning made easy

There’s no rule that corporate IT strategic planning must devour large amounts of time. Here are some tips to get you where you want to go

Know what you want to produce. By doing so, you’ll get there faster. The alternative is like the proverbial tiger chasing its tail. You may move at lightning speed, but you’ll be lost. Instead, ask yourself to what degree you need to develop classic strategic planning parts such as information, applications, technology and service architectures in relation to key issues, challenges and opportunities.

Select your planning horizon. There’s no magic to three, four or five years. Consider turbulence within and outside your corporation to determine the extent to which you anticipate your strategy will change.

Be practical. Overreaching can be as bad as not striving for enough. For example, weigh the maturity of IT in your enterprise. Apply the Control Objectives for Information and Technology (COBIT) published by the IT Governance Institute (ITGI) to rate the maturity of your enterprise’s IT management.

Know how to get there. Textbook knowledge helps, but is not enough. You achieve excellence quickly when you know what you are doing and have a track record of successfully getting there.

Leverage existing investments. It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying that everything old is bad. Yet cups are often closer to half full than empty. In reality, there’s always something to salvage from existing hardware, software, transferable staff skills, policies and strategies.

Align with business strategies. Instead of swimming upstream, collaborate with strategic business imperatives, especially the ones executives agree will lead to tangible, urgent and immediate value. Management will reward you with plenty of corporate resources to get things speedily done. Focus on business not technology for technology’s sake.

Leverage the W.I.F.T. principle. “There’s gold in them there hills” unleashes enthusiasm. Inspire urgency by harnessing the What’s In It For Them (W.I.I.F.T.) principle for corporate IT stakeholders, particularly executive management. ROI, economies of scale and building sustainable competitive advantages are sample hot buttons.

Enlist excellent project management. An experienced project manager and facilitator with expertise in strategies can guide your enterprise to successful outcomes by introducing new and customized approaches while helping stakeholders make objective decisions.

Recruit positive can-do experience and attitude. Constantly Complaining Cathy, Bulldozer Boswald and Manipulative Margo ravage team productivity. In contrast, Hardworking Harry, Experienced Ethel and Open-minded Othelia help you to champion timely success. And keep discussions focused, on track and on time while ensuring all voices are heard.

Productively manage change. Resistance is inevitable. Yet these days, change pounds on corporate doors with disturbing regularity. Forge commitment to change. Foster creativity and innovation. Like magic wands, they endow strategic IT projects to “think out of the box”, achieve superior performance and strive to continuously improve.

The new calendar or fiscal year offers a window of opportunity for you to launch and quickly deliver your ITSP. Fulfill the promise of I.T. Thrive, profit and delight in the results.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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