What Is Strategic Planning?

An agency that does strategic planning influences the future, rather than simply prepares for or adapts to it. Strategic planning outlines an agency’s long-term goals for carrying out its mission.

Strategic Planning Diagram

  • Goals, developed based on the mission, are broad statements of what an agency wants to achieve over a long time. Goals stretch and challenge an agency but are realistic and achievable, and they help answer the question, “Where do we want to be?”
  • Goals are formalized into objectives, or desired outcomes that provide clear targets for specific actions and define where an agency will be by a particular date. Objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound statements that outline the steps to achieve an agency’s goals.
  • An agency develops strategies that outline the specific actions it will take to meet its objectives.
  • An agency sets measures and targets to evaluate whether it has met its objectives.

The evaluation results show an agency’s progress toward meeting its overarching goals, which it revises based on the results. The strategic planning process then begins anew.

The strategic plan produced by this process defines how an agency will achieve its desired results over the next three to five years.

Under G.S. 143B-1330, every agency must submit a technology plan to the state chief information officer in each even-numbered year. The Statewide Information Technology Plan, also called the North Carolina IT Roadmap, covers five years, so to properly inform the plan, agencies’ plans should cover the same time period.