It’s critical to plan ahead as you plan for a revamp of your organization’s IT systems. Your plan needs to be flexible enough to grow with the technological advances that are inevitable.

  1. Seek out and achieve executive buy-in. This step inspires employees to look forward to new processes and also builds executive empathy towards staff and how their work habits might need to change. No buy-in can lead to a lack of leadership focus where goals and visions are not clear.
  2. Engage professional assistance. Having a third-party involved provides necessary outside expertise and impartiality. It’s easy to have a project go off schedule without a facilitator.
  3. Elicit input from key stakeholders. This step ensures that your requirements and ultimate solution are closer to reality. Without it, stakeholders don’t feel engaged and adoption is slower.
  4. Develop a common technology vision. This step illuminates technology goals instead of tools, and establishes project priorities. Visions, goals and strategies are typically established using a three- to five-year timeframe, and IT strategies should be revised on a yearly basis to incorporate possible adjustments.
  5. Align the plan with the overall strategic plan. Keeps the focus on creating and measuring business values that are linked to the business strategic goals.
  6. Identify the needs before discussing the solution. Make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve. Tools, toys and other widgets often obscure real goals.
  7. Develop comprehensive, but achievable, goals. Be honest with yourself at the outset. What is the skillset of the team? What are the limitations? Use peer reviews as gut checks on how realistic goals are. Pick a target end date, and work backwards.
  8. Develop measurements to assess performance. If you don’t know what is happening, you can’t determine why it’s happening. Measuring provides ways to make processes more efficient: time to achieve a task, cycle a payment, etc.
  9. Present the plan for organizational approval. Build relationships of consensus prior to the pitch. Know the board and their opinions. Be prepared to address many concerns. Articulate strategies to adhere to the budget.
  10. Execute. Use the plan as a roadmap. Deviate only when necessary. Regularly communicate with stakeholders to manage expectations.