Strategic objectives

Final | October 2018 | v1.0.0 | OFFICIAL-Public | QGCDG


Objectives are specific and measurable changes to the current state that are to be achieved in specific timeframes. Objectives are important as they set the scene for both the formulation strategies as well as the development of roadmaps in the later stages of planning.

This guideline draws on information from the Discover workstream relating to the business strategic direction of the organisation and well as information gathered from horizon scanning and identification technology trends. The practitioner also needs to the consider the information that was generated in the Vision workshops, turning the ideas and expectations identified into realistic and achievable objectives.


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
  • Business analysts
  • Information managers.


The practices in this guideline should be conducted in collaboration with the stakeholders identified in the Initiate workstream.

The practices outlined in this guideline can be incorporated into other stakeholder workshops. For example, defining the objectives will complement the outputs of the Vision activities and may be conducted as part of the same workshop where practical.

A well-constructed objective should contain the following elements:

  • action (e.g. Expand the use of)
  • detail (e.g. online applications and scheduling for new licence accreditation)
  • metric and unit (e.g. to reduce average customer wait times by 10%)
  • deadline (e.g. within the next 12 months).

It is important to ensure business objectives have been defined to support the change in services across a number of areas including:

  • step changes to the service model and underpinning process.
  • incremental changes in the way stakeholders access, use, provide, receive and manage information
  • changes in the technology capability required to deliver the service vision
  • incremental transformation in the capabilities of the workforce.

Additional analysis such as forecasts and gap analysis may be required before specific objectives and strategies relating to the workforce can be identified. This should be conducted immediately after Vision activities so the results can be considered as part of the activities regarding objectives.

Forecasting and gap analysis will provide a richer source of information prior to setting specific objectives, enabling practitioners to identify more specific measures (e.g. increase workforce competencies in the areas of A, B and C within the next 12 months or increase the number of FTEs in the roles of X and Y by 10% over the next two years).

It may also be necessary to identify and priority workforce gaps.

Two methods of defining objectives are outlined in this guideline including direct alignment with business strategic objectives and establish planning horizons.

Direct alignment with business strategic objectives

The direct alignment method considers the business strategic objectives of the agency and Government and examines how they directly translate to digital or ICT objectives. Direct alignment takes the business objectives of the organisation then looks at the information from the Vision activities, technology trends and horizon scanning to derive digital or ICT objectives. There may be one or more digital or ICT objectives for each business objective. There may also be business objectives for which no digital or ICT objectives can be derived.

The circumstances in which this method is generally more effective include:

  • There are strong business objectives already outlined in the agency strategic plan and digital or ICT objectives can be easily defined based on the business objectives.
  • There are business objectives defined in agency strategic plan but the agency has a lower level of digital or ICT planning maturity.
  • There are focus areas already defined in the agency strategic plan with clearly defined outcomes. Digital or ICT objectives can be derived within these focus areas that will contribute or result in the required business outcomes.

The deadlines or timeframes are generally dictated by the corresponding business objective, making this a simple method to apply with business representatives and other stakeholders.

Often workshops become more about the structure of the sentence rather than the end state that needs to be conveyed. It is important to focus on the action and detail and refine the objective statements as part of consultation.

Practitioners should use business metrics and units rather than ICT related metrics and units where possible. The exact metric and unit may not be identifiable at the time of the workshop. For example, a reasonable metric does not yet exist to measure the objective. If this is the case, discuss the options or indicators that might be applied or changed to measure the objective rather than decide on the exact metric and unit.

Planning horizons

Establishing planning horizons involves setting pre-defined timelines of the expected life of the proposed digital or ICT strategy or plan (e.g. 1 year, 3 years, 5 years). The circumstances in which this method is generally more effective include:

  • Business objectives outlined in the agency strategic plans are less well defined in terms of outcomes and timeframes. The agency is ‘starting from scratch’ with respect to its service vision and related digital or ICT objectives.
  • The agency already has a clear service delivery vision and can clearly articulate where it should be with respect to the delivery of services within stated periods of time.
  • The agency has a higher level of digital or ICT planning maturity and can clearly articulate where it needs to be with respect to the delivery of services within given periods of time to take advantage of digital or ICT transformation.

The ideas collected as part of Vision activities can be deconstructed further and plotted against the planning horizons. In general, the end state articulated as part of the Vision will be achieved in the farthest planning horizon.

Point changes of service delivery along the way can be represented on the other planning horizons. These point changes could represent step changes in technology, business process changes, changes in the way information is managed, secured and shared, incremental changes in workforce capability, expanding service offerings or expanding customer segments.

Another advantage of choosing a planning horizon approach is the dependencies between the step changes can be identified. An example of objectives based on planning horizons is provided in table 2 below:



By 2020

Digital transformation preparation completed:

  • Funding, schedule and scope for Central Queensland wide digital transformation approved
  • Infrastructure rolled out across Central Queensland to ensure all sites are ready for digital transformation
  • Reduce patient identification risks with a single patient identification number in place across CQ Health.

By 2025

  • Digital transformation of all our clinical services complete. All clinicians have access to decision support and healthcare information at the bedside.

By 2030

  • Working in a clinical network, regional hospitals will provide enhanced services as part of regional hubs to improve access and outcomes for rural and regional residents.

Table 1 - Example of planning horizon objectives

(Source: Adapted from Destination 2030 – Great Care for Central Queenslanders, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Qld Government, 2017)

Next steps

The methods outlined in this guideline are iterative. It might take several workshops with several diverse groups of people to articulate the final digital or ICT objectives.

It is important to ‘play back’ the outputs of workshops to participants within a short timeframe from the workshop. This will maintain interest and ensure the participants feel like their time to participate was worthwhile.

Once the digital or ICT objectives have been defined, the resulting business benefits, business changes and enablers can be defined.




Queensland Government ICT workforce planning methodology



Last Reviewed: 24 October 2018