Final | October 2018 | v1.0.0 | OFFICIAL-Public | QGCIO
Once the objectives, scope, stakeholders, outputs and high-level approach to the proposed planning engagement are known and agreed with the sponsor, it is necessary to outline the management approach, resources, schedule and communications plan in more detail. This includes assembling resources as well as the tools required to conduct planning activities from the relevant modules of the digital or ICT planning framework.
This guideline describes how to determine the modules and guidelines required to conduct planning as well as assemble the planning team. The activities in guideline are likely to vary widely from agency to agency and these guidelines should be considered within the context of existing agency processes and procedures.
A practitioner in the context of this guideline can include one or more of the following roles:
- Digital and ICT strategic planners
- Agency and service strategic planners
- Workforce planners
- Enterprise architects
- Business analysts.
Sponsorship for the planning engagement as well as agreement on the planning objectives and outputs should have already been established.
The practitioner should review the content and expected outputs from each of the recommended modules of the framework and determine their relevance to the overall planning objectives. This includes reviewing and assembling the tools and resources that might be deployed as part of planning activities.
Regardless of the size and complexity of the planning engagement, how the planning engagement will be conducted and managed should be documented in a management plan.
Aspects to be considered as part of planning the engagement include but are not limited to:
- The overall stakeholder engagement and planning approach in line with the planning objectives agreed by the sponsor.
- The benefits and expected outcomes arising from the planning engagement
- Procedures for managing risks and issues.
- Procedures for managing changes in scope, budget and time frames.
- Procedures and criteria for approving the planning outputs.
- Cost estimates including the cost of both internal and external resources.
- Analysis of both internal and external stakeholders including representatives from the various stakeholder groups who will take part in the planning workshop activities.
- A plan for engaging and communicating the progress and outcomes of the planning engagement.
- An overarching schedule of the planning activities to be conducted as well as key milestones
- The governance structure and arrangements to be in place to ensure the planning engagement is delivering the required outcomes and benefits.
Where possible, existing agency processes and procedures for activities such as managing risk, analysing stakeholders, estimating costs or reporting on the progress or status of the planning engagement should be leveraged.
Planning as a project
Large planning engagements may need to be conducted as formal project. When the planning engagement is to be managed as a formal project, the initiation and management of the planning engagement should be conducted in accordance with agency or Queensland Government best practice methodologies.
Practitioners should also consider if the appointment of a dedicated project manager is required.
How the planning engagement will be governed is also an important consideration. The accountabilities and responsibilities of the sponsor and key members of the planning team including the planning lead, project manager or the senior manager in charge of the planning unit should be clearly documented.
Where planning engagements are conducted as a project, it may be necessary to appoint a project board to oversee the planning engagement and its outcomes. The role of existing governance boards such as ICT portfolio boards or Executive groups also needs to be considered with respect to endorsing or approving the planning approaches, resources and outputs.
The number and types of human resources required will depend on the nature of the planning work to be conducted.
It is important to consider integrated planning approaches across the disciplines of strategic planning, digital and ICT strategic planning, workforce planning, enterprise architecture as well as investment and portfolio management. As an example, the planning resources required to conduct an effective planning engagement involves the development of an enterprise wide strategy which may include:
Responsible for engaging with representatives from the business to determine the overall strategic drivers, vision, objectives, strategies as well as high-level outcomes and benefits.
Assists the business representatives to understand the digital or ICT capability required and how it is used in the transformation of services.
Assists the business representatives to initially prioritise the capability required and helps shape and initial view of the areas in investment required over time.
Develops the overall strategy in collaboration with the business representatives.
Agency and service strategic planners
Digital and ICT strategic planners
Technology or digital capability
Translates the business, digital or ICT capability required into a target state architecture and roadmap.
Helps the business representatives to identify potential information gaps, improvement opportunities and risks.
Works with enterprise architects to develop an information target state architecture and roadmap in line with the digital or ICT roadmap.
Strategic information managers
Assists the business to identify risks to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information and information assets.
Information security managers
Helps the business representatives identify potential workforce gaps as well as future roles that might be in demand.
Works with strategic planning specialists to identify future trends in workforce transformation as a result of technology transformation. Identifies the future roles and skills that will be increasingly important to the organisation as well as the strategies required to take advantage of opportunities in the workforce.
Human resource specialists
ICT investment and portfolio
Works with the business and other streams in the planning team to shape the strategy and required capability into initiatives.
Helps the business refine the benefits and assists them to navigate the governance pathways for funding.
Marketing and communications
Assists the planning team with editorial reviews as well as the professional presentation of planning outputs.
Present the strategy or plan in new and interesting ways that are meaningful to stakeholders.
Marketing and communications specialists including graphic artists and editorial reviewers
Working in an integrated way does not mean that the responsibility of a discipline starts and ends with a specific task or activity. All disciplines should be involved in most, if not all planning activities at some point regardless of who is responsible for leading that segment of work.
Any skills shortages or capability shortfalls should be identified. Practitioners need to consider whether to source external resources from the market to conduct most or the entire planning engagement or simply supplement skills gaps in the agency’s planning capability. The time and cost required to provide training or source resources with appropriate capability should be included in the schedule and budget.
It is important to keep stakeholders informed of the planning activities, objectives and outcomes and their participation in the planning process including workshops and consultation. Creating a sense of anticipation or excitement around the upcoming planning opportunity and what it might mean for business is also important. It is therefore recommended to include a formal communication plan.
This plan should take into consideration the results of the stakeholder analysis and define in detail the communication, co-design, consultation and approval approaches to engage stakeholders, approve deliverables and communicate the planning progress and outcomes.
Recommended elements of an effective communication plan include but are not limited to:
- Communication objectives
- Key messages
- Frequency of communication
- Success criteria or key performance indicators against which the effectiveness of communications can be measured or evaluated.
Scheduling the planning activities will require input from all members of the proposed planning team. Initially the practitioners may rely on the expertise and experience of representatives from the team to provide realistic estimates of the work to be conducted. Knowledge can also be built up over time based on patterns and actual time frames from previous planning engagements.
It may be useful to adopt tools such as product descriptions and work packages from best practice project management methodologies to assist to better define the work to undertaken and the outputs required. These may also assist with more accurate estimates of time to complete the work and will provide a basis for measuring the quality of the planning outputs.
An agile approach to conducting the planning engagement could also be considered, working within a series of short sprints to achieve specific objectives and outcomes, evaluating what was successful and what could be improved in future iterations or sprints and adjusting the approach where required.
Once all the necessary management elements have been considered, a formal management plan for the planning engagement can be assembled.
Once the management plan is complete, the practitioner should:
- Agree the management plan with the sponsor. This includes formally signing off the governance arrangements, processes and procedures, resources and timeframes and communications plan.
- Ensure all resources and the sponsor are aware of their obligations in relation to the management of the engagement (e.g. scope, budget, risk, quality and acceptance of deliverables, records management).
- Ensure all the supporting tools are in place for managing scope, budget, risk, quality and acceptance of deliverables and records).
Provide awareness training sessions to all business and technical stakeholders who you will be interviewing or inviting to workshops. These should not only sell the value of planning, but also explain the critical information provision, analysis and verification role of the attendees as individual contributors to the process.