Who should be involved in ICT planning?
Any planning process is a tool, a way of looking ahead to anticipate what's going to happen and how you're going to respond to it. It's a way of sharing ideas with other people; establishing, clarifying or confirming shared goals; exploring hopes and fears; and identifying what you want to achieve together.
Who does the planning?
In small organisations, all the planning and management processes may be handled by the same person – perhaps the only employee. A separate ICT plan might be a bit excessive, but ICT should at least be given its own section in your business plan.
Volunteers and trustees can use their expertise to identify technical options, or at any rate support the planning process, irrespective of their ICT skills, by making sure the focus is on achieving overall priorities. People from other organisations can offer information on their own use of ICT and what it has helped them achieve.
Communicating your plan
In any organisation good internal communications are vital so that everyone sees where ICT fits into the bigger picture:
- Managers will want to know how investment in ICT can help deliver strategic goals, so ICT staff must recognise the need to focus on effectiveness and efficiency.
- ICT staff will have technical issues to resolve before detailed plans can be made, so managers must allow reasonable time for plans to be fully costed, options assessed and timescales estimated.
Remember that you may need to review key parts of your plans more than once: look back at your key organisational goals regularly to remember why you’re doing all this work and focus on priorities.This also helps people to bring different perspectives without creating conflicts that prevent progress.
It is vital that an ICT plan is not prepared in a darkened room by someone who thinks they are the ICT expert. A small working party of staff, volunteers, trustees, clients or partners can help create a sense that ICT is part of the organisational glue.
ICT planning – keep it simple
No matter how elaborate the final document, any ICT plan must be able to answer three questions:
- Where are you now?
- Where are you going?
- How can ICT help you get there?
There are many different ways of planning but you know what works best for you, so take what seems to fit your needs.
Whatever you choose, remember that simplicity is the key – it keeps you focused and helps people share in the processes.
Advice and support
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