The Business-Technology Weave

Sep 5 2010   11:58AM GMT

Successful Strategic Planning

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


Given all the talk regarding Enterprise Resource Planning, and all manner of sub-planning (Disaster Recovery Planning, Change Management, Business Continuity Planning, and on and on…), we often seem to forget that planning must be strategic.

Check a thesaurus… something that is strategic is:  Planned; tactical; calculated; deliberate; premeditated; considered; intentional…

Too often, business and IT plans become reactive.  However, even strategic planning that starts out ahead of a curve, with foresight and collaboration, suddenly gets upended.  More than ever it is important to not only build plans that anticipate and lead changes, but to also put an underlying foundation to plans; a readiness posture for the whole of the organization so business and IT collaborate and succeed on a fluid basis… an ongoing “strategization.” 

Regardless how leading and “tight” your planning seems, be certain that the process is flexible enough to adapt to any changes in circumstances.  There is always the unforeseen and outside uncontrollables.  Resultant implementations of systems or policy will not always necessarily match the initial plan, and ability to efficiently adapt along the way is key.  Delivering to the larger objective is still the goal and the ultimate measure of success, regardless of how much prior strategy gets usurped – just be certain it was truly unavoidable.  (If you find all of your planning under a constant reality assault, you’d better get better planners into position).

In supporting this, stakeholders, planners and implementers – key strategy personnel – must communicate willingly, aggressively, and with full exposure.  Political impairments and battles must be swept away.  In any cases where change is embedded in other change (during what should be the constancy of a plan), things can become exponentially difficult quite quickly:  make certain to have meaningful milestones and measures along the way; when adjusting them, be as careful as you can be in making those adjustments.

Be certain that IT plans align with enterprise plans and expectations; ensure sanction and support – agreement – from all C-level executives and board or other oversights.  IT budget and plans must align and live within larger, organizational budgets, resources and plans.

Also, be sure to balance near-term, medium and long-range deliverables.  Hang your items not just on an IT timeline, but take those aforementioned organizational budget, resource and (possibly competing) plans into account.

September 5th:  On this day in 1774 the 1st Continental Congress assembles in Philadelphia.





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