What are the components of an IT plan?

IT serves the entire organization. You manage technology across teams — working closely with other departments to deliver what they need. How do you know if the solutions you provide are truly helping the business meet its goals? The answer to this requires an IT strategy and a well-crafted plan.

Strategy sets the direction for how you will invest time and resources as an IT team to support the business. Your plan puts strategy in motion — with details on specific projects and areas of focus, roles and responsibilities, budgets, and more.

An IT plan has a few purposes. First, it helps your IT team focus on the work that will bring the most value to the organization. It keeps folks in sync and accountable for what you have committed to delivering. Your plan also provides other teams visibility into the work you do and why it matters. Those teams are counting on you to continue to improve internal customer experiences — show them how with a clear plan.

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Core components

An IT plan guides your long-term and day-to-day work. Before you jump into the details of planning, start with strategy. You need to define your goals and initiatives as an IT department — including metrics for success. Once you have your strategic direction defined, you can start to build out the other details of your plan. Many IT teams create an overarching plan for the department, as well as focused plans for discrete areas of work.

Depending on its scope, an IT plan generally includes these components:

Goals and initiatives

Start with the goals and initiatives set in your company and IT strategy. Clarifying the strategic direction of IT ensures everyone understands what you want to achieve and the value it will bring to the organization.

Roadmap

Visualize your strategy on an IT roadmap. Your roadmap includes details of what you will deliver and by when. If details of the plan change because new requests or ideas emerge, use your roadmap to make trade-off decisions about what work items to prioritize.

Timeline

Include dates when work will be delivered — by quarter, month, or specific due dates. Stakeholders will also want to be aware of important milestones and dependencies.

Activities, features, or tasks

Document the specific details of what you will deliver. These include features, requirements, user stories, and other tasks that will help you complete your initiatives and projects. You may not need to display all of these details on your roadmap — but they are essential to your plan and implementation work.

Release schedule

Determine a release process. This covers the steps you will take to release new experiences to users and how often you will release. If you work on a small IT team, release plans may be relatively straightforward. The larger your organization and scope of projects, the more coordination required.

Resources

Show how you plan to allocate the IT budget across initiatives and projects. Resourcing may also include assigning work across the team and scheduling delivery dates based on capacity.

Roles and workflows

Assign work to make sure it is clear who is responsible for doing what and how it will get it done. You may need to include cross-functional teammates in workflows as well — for visibility or approvals.

Adjust as you go

Share the plan with the team to hold everyone accountable. This does not mean that you cannot change plans to account for shifting business priorities, user feedback, and data related to your KPIs. Plans will evolve — but you need to consider what you are trying to achieve in the long term and stay focused on that direction. When you set solid plans, you will be pleased to see where you end up.

Many IT managers use purpose-built roadmapping tools like Aha! Roadmaps for strategic planning. Get access to customizable roadmap templates to visualize your goals and build a timeline for completing the work. You can track the team's progress, identify roadblocks, and integrate with the development tools that you already use. Try Aha! Roadmaps now — free for 30 days.

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