Planning is the single most important function that an IT Manager completes! An effective planning process will determine overall IT strategy, operational activities for the IT department, units and staff, capacity decisions, and it will drive the creation of the budget. It should find all issues and opportunities, and will prioritise and schedule all resulting improvement activities. We consider the following areas for planning:

Strategic Linking to the organsiational Strategic plan, we move through a structured process to map and categorise any improvement areas. This is a generally a high level document, and is supported by the Operational plan
Operational As the name suggests, this is the plan that identifies the operational activities required to make the improvements from the strategic plan
Unit & Staff Driven from the Operational plan, it's important to provide clear direction to your teams and staff, and ensure that their goals are specific, measurable, achievable, results focused, and time bound
Capacity This is the process of ensuring that you have sufficient capacity in your systems and resources to meet your strategic goals and agreed IT service levels
Budget Any CEO is going to want to know how much it costs to run his company, so it's important to cost all operational items, and determine when that cost will be incurred.  This will then roll up into the company budget, where decisions can be made about prioritising expenditure items in the best interests of the company

We scale the above planning processes depending on the size of the organisation, so many smaller to medium sized organisations we deal will often have a single plan that includes operational items as well as overall strategy. This will be summarised on a single page for simplicity, and will also be accompanied by a simple budget.

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