“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”
I love this quote from Leonard Bernstein. It brings together two frames of mind which are essentially opposite ends of the spectrum emotionally: the calm, focused purposefulness of planning and the harried sense of urgency when you realize you don’t have as much time as you thought. Yet it rings so true.
How many times have we invested much forethought into meticulously crafted, well-timed plans only to have those plans dashed into pieces of irrelevant, unsuitable, unachievable nonsense?
These foes to planning are usually external influences that are beyond our control. Are we to blame then? Well – yes, partly. Because, as another great man, Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”
So the answer is to not put too much stock in the plan itself, but put all possible effort into having a good planning process. For the plan that is perfect today may not be tomorrow. That is a given in our constantly changing world. So we had better focus on the process.
Let’s pivot to planning IT change. What makes a good IT planning process? First of all, it is one that manages the plan data instead of the plans. By maintaining current information on all of the architecture elements that are affected by planned changes, plans can be adapted quickly.
Software AG’s Alfabet tool for enterprise architecture (EA), IT planning and portfolio management takes an information management approach, rather than modeling, to architecture management. Just like an ERP system, the transactional relationship between the repository and its users keeps information current.
A good planning practice is to use the same process again and again for repeatability of planning and ease of collaboration. Because that is the next characteristic of a good planning process: it includes all of the relevant stakeholders. Make sure you understand your stakeholders so that they get the perspective on the plan that they need. And make plans easy to read and relevant for their part of the process, for example life-cycle roadmaps for application owners, migration roadmaps for ops staff and business support roadmaps for your business peers.
A 30-minute webinar from Software AG on “Planning your Digital Transformation” talks about best practices for IT planning and how Alfabet supports these. Having plans which are both reliable and flexible ensures that goals are reached without compromising the agility needed to adjust to changes caused by internal or external developments.
So, take the time to watch this webinar, safeguard yourself against the inevitability of “not quite enough time” and start planning to achieve great things.