I work for local Government for a mid sized city. We have been working through this process for over a year now. I myself am an IT/Systems professional, but I am also heavily involved in the planning processes for our Government. Some topics have emerged as being very important.
1. The overaching critical factor is that the business side has to be good at explaining just what "Moving Forward" or any other catch phrase means. The way to explain is to lay out clear plans. We have invested alot of time in defining the Strategic Plan for the overall Government. This has been accomplished through executive coaching, by taking a hard look at priorities, and by identifying the processes that produce positive change. We have 6 strategic platforms and 9 strategic initiatives that tackle cross enterprise issues that involve multiple Departments. Now we are bringing the process down into the Departments where strategic and operational plans are being formulated. The end results will be documentation of our programs of change, a concise documentation of the programs to be provided by each department, and a list of process improvement priorities. The business side has alot of work to do to work through these issues, but by documenting these issues clearly we now have a clear path ahead. As an IT person, this sets expectations quite clearly and we can all start marching forward together.
2. With expectations set, IT and other support groups can much more easily provide recommendations that help across the enterprise and major enterprise sub groups while focusing on the things that really matter to those we support. This is real alignment. I believe now that our internal programs of change for IT are now laid out for the next several years. Some tweaks will have to be made, but the general ideas are very clear.
3. It is essential that the projects, programs, and process improvements that come out of the planning process are vetted for feasibility and impact. Good decision making information helps the business key in on their priorities. We are getting to a point where this vetting process makes decision making much easier. At the same time, it is much easier for us in Technology to see the logic of the process and also to describe the costs that will be associated with the proposals.
4. It is essential that the business make the decisions on what the IT investment should be in any initiative. Again, with good decision making info, our ability to characterize the cost of improvements is enhanced. The result is that reality creeps in and we don't go off on wild goose chases as frequently.
5. Finally-it is absolutely essential the Technology folks get a seat at the planning table. I would go so far as to say that often IT has to be the leader in transformation. Our central technology departments has invested heavily in developing us as Service Level Managers and also in project management and planning. People like me have become translators between Business and Technology. This has been very fruitful. If all you do in the technology department is take care of equipment then you may want to think strongly about developing people to bridge the expectation gap. It has paid off for us.
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