Associate University Librarian for Library Information Technology
University of Michigan
Medium- and long-term strategic planning for technology, whether it be for one product or a whole portfolio, is a tricky business. Trying to project what technology will look like in six months and how to make the best choices to respond to user needs is hard enough, much less trying to project three or five years out. Technology futuring is incredibly complex; picking one future that we are “sure will work out” is often folly, but trying to think constructively about the many possible futures that could emerge can be overwhelming, especially within the context of the rapidly evolving needs of a dynamic university. There are numerous methods and templates available for facilitating the process of strategic planning, each with strengths and weaknesses. This presentation will describe a new method for iterative, fluid, and inclusive strategic planning based on principles of complexity theory and systemics, designed specifically for the needs of the academic technology environment. The purpose of the Roadmap is to start from higher principles and integrate near-term goals with mid-range plans and long-term intentions while keeping aligned with the direction of front-of-house services, maintaining focus on user needs, anticipating future resources, and maintaining flexibility to adapt to possible futures. The method works with simple, common tools and can scale easily from a single product to an entire complex portfolio. Developed for articulating a strategy for the highly complex University of Michigan library technology portfolio, this method is also in active use by the Fedora open source project. The presentation will include links to templates, interactive examples, and ways to get started using the method.