i387c managing information services and organizations






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Module 3. Unit 1: Strategic Planning



Through readings, discussion, and assignments students will be able to

  1. Practice case study analysis skills
  2. Apply a classic planning process to a specific situation.

Module 3 has two units: Unit 1: Strategic Planning and Project Management; and Unit 2: Fiscal Management: Planning and Managing Budgets

Overview: There is no room for the manager who focuses only on doing today's job well; the manager/leader must always have the ability to visualize what should happen to the organization in the future. Strategic planning has been defined indifferent ways ... some say that strategic planning emanates from the top of the organization. Others define it as planning that is driven by environmental assessments (external factors like the economy) rather than organizational assessments (size of the budget, etc.) IBM defines strategic planning as "an attempt to look ahead to where you want to be coupled with a program to get you there." Peter Drucker has said that "information based organizations require clear, simple objectives that translate into particular actions."


Your readings will provide background on the planning process. As a quick reference, the steps in the planning process follow below.

I. Where We Are: Conducting a Needs Assessment

Needs assessment is the first step in a formal planning process. Before goals and objectives can be formulated, an assessment of where the organization is must be made. This step, as your textbook notes includes systematic collection of data concerning the the program or service and the parent organization. This would include the collection and analysis of internal statistics, other services, the nature of operations (efficient or inefficient), and other programs and activities. In addition to the internal evaluation, the needs assessment should include external factors such as non-user or potential client attitudes toward the organization or program, plans and goals of the parent institution, economic outlooks, etc.

The needs assessment may be accomplished using such methods as: surveys of users and non-users; interviews, focus groups, and analyses of demographics (of potential users). The process of needs assessment and subsequent development of a list of strengths and weaknesses is critical, but, "One must fight the urge to allow data collection to dominate or bog down the planning process, instead viewing this step as a means to an end: the collection of data related to past (and current) activities, with the view of making decisions about future activities. When data has been collected look for information that may challenge long held assumptions ... look for change in user expectations and trends in services. You may want to take a look at what comparable organizations and programs are doing in the way of services, etc. Recognize that there are many levels of need:

  1. Clients
  2. Staff
  3. Resources

The needs assessment should provide information so that the major problems in the organization are identified. Every organization has problems and services that can be improved. In fact, the major reason for the existence of organizations is to solve problems. It is important to articulate these problems clearly. The needs assessment informs understanding of Where We Are.

II. Where We Want to Be!

Where we want to be is what the Mission or Vision Statement is all about. The Vision Statement in essence is an inspiring summary of the dreams of the staff concerning the future (possibly five years hence).

III. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives should flow from the mission statement. A goal is timeless and not measurable. An objective is concrete, specific, and measurable with a timeline (e.g., by September 2007, 98% of Undergraduates will graduate in less than 5 years.) Tasks or strategies outline how the objective will be accomplished. For example:

  1. Undergraduate advisors will be trained in strategies to counsel students to take a full course load every semester
  2. Undergraduate tuition will double when student has been enrolled more than five years.

There are four criteria for evaluating the major areas of the planning process.

  1. Goal Relatedness - how does the activity fit into the overall goals for the organization?
  2. Feasibility - what is the potential for being successful?
  3. Efficiency - will this course of action provide optimum results rather than another course of action?
  4. Effectiveness or Impact.
==> Continue to Module 3 Unit 2




Quinn's Chapter 6, The Director Role, 183-210, on competencies for "Developing and Communicating a Vision" and "Setting Goals and Objectives."

Case Study #2, "A Planning Exercise: Vision and Goals"

Review the presentation (pdf file to read with Adobe Acrobat Reader) on project management and review the steps to project planning and project management steps to plan your team's work on their final report.

Assignment (Group) Use your assigned group discussion area to begin to analyze the questions outlined in the case study.
Post Submit the Team report in Word format (no more than 10 pages) to the Assignment section of Bb entitled Planning Document. Save the file using the following naming format group#-plan.doc
Discussion Board

Summarize your team's plan in the forum entitled PLANNING EXERCISE.

Due June 19 11:30pm <== New due date
Value 20 points
thanks to patrick williams for template design
Last update 12 june 2006