Periodically, one or other of the listservs that I subscribe to receives a post requesting technology strategic planning help – ostensibly they want to see what everyone else is writing. The request is followed by a spate of similar requests, everyone hoping that someone else is going to send that magical document that they just need to fill in a few fields and hey presto! technology strategic planning is done for the next 3-5 years – document for the board, director satisfied, bullet dodged.
I find the email frenzy of people wanting to see everyone else’s plan fascinating. Alright, “frenzy” is a bit strong, but I wish there were other areas where museum folks want to do what everyone else is doing. Standards for example. But we all know that standards are like toothbrushes – everyone agrees that they are a good idea, but nobody wants to use anyone else’s.
(Insert your witty allusion here as to why everybody wants to use everyone else’s technology plan …)
The thing that fascinates me is that a technology strategic plan elicits such uncertainty that makes everyone want to see how everyone else is doing it. Is it because people think it should be full of technology mumbo jumbo?
Maybe its just the whole “dirty laundry” syndrome, nobody wants to fess up how disorganised they are because they are in constant crisis mode trying to support the current initiatives.
We all are.
Maybe its because its just not worth bothering about, because nobody will read it, it only applies to me and I won’t be able to stick to it anyway.
Maybe its because its such a unique document that it doesn’t make sense to share it.
There is no right or wrong plan, its meant to be a document that helps everyone understand the institution’s mission and goals related to the use or intended use of technology. It should communicate how to work, how to make decisions, how and what to plan for, what you can look forward to, what success looks like and how you’re going to deal with future, current or past initiatives.
OK, all that might make a(n overly) complex document, but an equally valid plan could be just a paragraph that says, you don’t have any technology staff and you can’t support any initiatives until you do.
That’ll get the director’s attention.
A key element to a successful technology plan is to identify its intended audience and communicate what’s appropriate, and therein lies the rub. What is appropriate? What should it include, what should be left out? Here’s where I think people get held up, believing that the plan has to be all encompassing. It doesn’t, it needs to be appropriate. Think of technology as a precious work in the collection, it needs documenting, a condition report, care and attention and needs to be put on display every once in a while…
Technology should be easily accessible and is constantly evolving – so should a technology plan.
Can you show me yours?