In 8 steps to an annual IT plan - Providing space and yet structure

For many organisations, drawing up an annual plan is relevant to achieving success. The same goes for IT organizations. But, how does this work in an IT organization? How do you ensure that an organizational vision and strategy is properly translated into a (multi-year) ICT strategy and subsequently an ICT annual plan?

Because so much changes so quickly in the world of information management and ICT, it is important to draw up an ICT strategy and annual plan, in which sufficient space is maintained to be able to respond to new developments and current opportunities and threats.

In order to be able to do this in a structured way, we have drawn up a step-by-step plan based on several methods such as OGSM and portfolio management, and various practical experiences. We start from a given organizational vision (+/- 10 years ahead) and organizational strategy (1-3 years ahead).

1. Determine what the organizational vision and strategy means for IT organization
An organization's vision reflects an ultimate goal. It is important to distil from this what this means for the ICT and IM organization. Questions that you as an ICT organization should ask yourself are, for example: What steps need to be taken to enable the development direction? Are there developments that are currently on the schedule that are no longer necessary/relevant in view of the vision? Does the current vision on ICT correspond to the organizational vision? These insights serve as frameworks for the next steps to arrive at a vision for ICT and IM. You need this to come up with a good annual plan.
Example: In order to facilitate the organizational vision of 'a data-driven, international player', from the perspective of ICT, a vision must be drawn up about how we deal with our data management and the flexibility therein, and it is necessary to think about how we organize ourselves in such a way that we are ready to operate internationally.

vision and mission
A good mission and vision

Learn more about drawing up a valuable mission and vision and check whether your current mission and vision work optimally in this blog.

2. Determine your customer
In order to determine your strategy as an organization, it is important to realize who your most important customer is. Is your internal organization part of your customer as a business? Or do you have customers outside your internal organization? What does your customer find important?
A nice exercise to do with this is to think about; Suppose the organization outsourced the ICT, why should we be the party they should choose as a service provider? How do we put our customer first?

3. Translate the organizational vision and strategy into a long-term vision on ICT
The frameworks from the organizational vision and customer insight serve as a guideline and input for determining the long-term vision on ICT. It is also possible that requirements can be read in the organizational vision or strategy, which must be fulfilled by the ICT organization.
When determining the ICT vision, it is important not to be too specific (too much is changing in the world), but to determine a clear direction with a few focus points, aimed at serving your customer as well as possible. The customer is often the internal organization and the organizational strategy is therefore leading.

4. Formulate your annual goal in GOAL by DOEN
The next step is to formulate your annual goal by defining your strategic goals (1-3 years ahead), and determining your tactics for the coming year. You formulate this in 'goal by doing'. In the OGSM method this is the 'Objective'.
TARGET: What is our goal to achieve in the next (1-3) years? You actually translate the findings from steps 1 to 3 into a concrete goal.
Again, ask yourself the question; why should the organization choose us as an ICT/IM supplier, suppose it were put on the market.
TO DO: Here you formulate your strategy to achieve your goal. This can often be summarized in a number of key points, which give focus to the organization. Because the target often focuses on a 1-3 year horizon, but 'doing' focuses on the coming year, it is important to update it annually.
Example: 'To optimally facilitate the growth towards a data-driven and international organization as a stable IT organization by being a center of expertise in the field of data, guaranteeing stability of services, and implementing an internationally oriented architecture.'

Annual plan on 1 A4

Learn more about drawing up an annual plan on 1 A4 according to the OGSM method in our training.

5. Set targets and KPIs to measure whether you are achieving your goals.
Because ICT and IM organizations often have a large management and development aspect, it is important to set objectives for both aspects. The healthiest management/development workload ratio is 70% and 30%, respectively. Include this fact, and the reality in your organization, in the goals you set.
The KPIs you set here should tell you whether you are achieving your 'goal' from your annual goal. So do not formulate KPIs here that do not contribute to this. In other words, if you achieve all these KPIs according to target, you will achieve your goal and if you do not achieve one of your targets on your KPIs, you will not achieve your goal. In the OGSM method these are the 'Goals'.

In 7 steps to good KPIs

Learn more about setting good KPIs and how to recognize whether or not you are doing well with your organization.

6. Parallel to 5; define your strategies.
To ensure that you will achieve your goals, determine your strategies for doing so. either; What tactics will you use as an organization to achieve your goals? These are often strongly related to the 'doing' of your annual goal. These tactics are the focus points of your organization and are often characterized by the improving slant. The going concern is therefore not reflected in this. Improvements and developments on the going concern, by the way!
Then also set action KPIs to make your progress on these strategies measurable. In the OGSM method, these are the 'Strategies' and your 'Measures'.

7. Determine which projects/activities/programs need to be completed to implement the tactics.
In order to subsequently make concrete how you are going to give substance to the strategies, it is important to get an overview of the intended trajectories (for example programs or projects, but also actions). This step is often implemented by forming and filling one or more portfolio(s). However, nowadays, especially in IT organizations, the classic waterfall method is no longer always used. In order to give sufficient space to more agile working methods, it is recommended not only to specify concrete projects, but also to formulate hours/budget for agile teams, which often work on a specific product line/service/theme.

8. Prioritize the routes
Because every organization has to deal with scarcity (in personnel capacity, budget, etc.), it is an illusion that you can always do everything you want. So choices have to be made. A good way to do this is by applying portfolio management, but essentially it comes down to prioritizing the trajectories you would like to do. The most effective way is to look at the strategic relevance and the costs of a process, and to make the assessment accordingly. It is also important to identify the 'must-haves'. In other words, which projects do you really need to carry out, regardless of strategic relevance and costs? For example, due to (adjusted) legislation and regulations, or due to developments in your own organization.
Because agile teams often have no specific projects defined, a desired number of hours/budget is usually specified per team. With these agile teams, treated as 'routes', the distinction in priority can be made by determining the extent to which they keep the number of hours that they initially defined.

Because every organization is unique, it is sometimes relevant to adjust the sequence, or to apply additional coordination moments with other stakeholders. We are happy to think along about this and advise you on the most valuable process and form for you. Feel free to contact us. It is always possible to schedule a meeting with our consultants without obligation.

Do you have any questions about this blog or would you like to discuss an ICT annual plan? Please contact Renée van Poppel via or 06 25 16 86 47.

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