Unfolding plans 35 – If ever there was an oxymoron then this must be it.

I’m fed up with road works.  If ever there was an oxymoron then this must be it.  Road works means that they don’t.  Every journey I make seems to be severed with multiple interventions by the highways people, local council and utility companies.  Every road is dug up.  My retinas are burnt with the reflected glare from the millions of cones I pass by.  I have become an expert in earth moving equipment and the ways of traffic management.

What used to be a bearable fifty to sixty minute journey into work is now taking twice as long.  My commuting day has been extended by another hour and a half at least.  Now I know some of you have much longer commutes especially if you live in the big city but I don’t.  I live here to avoid such things and it is getting me down.

I blame the recession or rather the lack of it.  I have had plenty of time to reflect on how bad things have become, as I’ve sat in my car, inching forward and I’ve come to this conclusion.  The recession caused a delay in the amount of civil engineering projects.  Those that hadn’t started were put on hold.  Those that could be stalled were.  Now that recovery is underway the cork has come out of the bottle and all that pent up demand has spumed though the neck.  Work schedules have been concertinaed.  Where there was inertia there is now a flurry of activity.

The irony is that the green shoots of recovery have resulted in the cutting down of the green shoots of trees along the Western Bypass.  Ah well, only another eighteen months to look forward to.  I guess this is progress.

Writing a strategy is hard.  Everyone wants something different from you.  I used to write the ICT Strategy every three years but now that‘s not enough.  One company I met said that they renewed theirs every three months but that is just showing off.  Ours is now reviewed on a rolling annual basis and that time comes around very quickly.

The document is aimed at a wide audience, from technical people to customers, suppliers, members, central government and residents.  It needs to contain enough detail to convince but not enough to confuse.  It needs to have enough planning within to show that we mean business but not so much that it becomes a service plan rather than a strategy.  Some people like words while others like pictures.  There are those that want graphs, or even better infographics (I must get some of those) and lots of tables with dates that we can be held to account with.  Someone even suggested video but as you know that is not my medium.

And it needs to be short and sharp.  Digestible.  I started out with over thirty pages hoping to make it more succinct but I’ve only succeeded in cutting out a couple of leaves. I’ve put it to bed now.  It is hopefully more of a horse than a camel and a thoroughbred rather than a cob.

Writing a strategy is hard.  I know it won’t please everyone but hopefully some will find it of use.

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