Effective planning joins the analytic insights of institutional research and assessment with orientation toward change of innovation and improvement teams. Planning calls for the identification of the current situation and environment and the development of goals and strategies to accomplish those goals. The tools and approaches of innovation and improvement teams can be used to develop goals and implement strategies, increasing support for the plan. Following implementation, institutional research and assessment can be used to track progress toward the goals.
A plan generally includes knowledge about what occurred in the past, an assessment of the present situation, and goals for the future. While language may vary, there is a hierarchy of components of a plan:
- Processes and Actions
- Measures of Performance
Strategic plans at the organizational level usually address a time frame of five to ten years and are developed at the executive level. Managerial plans address a shorter time frame, perhaps 12 months, and are developed at a unit or departmental level. Operational plans may be developed at the supervisory level for a one to four week time frame. Within an organization, strategic, managerial, and operational plans should be in alignment. It should be clear how activities in an operational plan support initiatives in the managerial plan, and how initiatives in the managerial plan support strategies or goals in the strategic plan.