1995 Midwest Regional Conference
Long-Range Planning and Program Roundtable
Bill Zeigler, Lotus/Spreadsheet SIG
leader, Chicago Computer Society -- (Workshop
The purpose of planning is to maximize achievement of
identified goals of the organization. Planning is required
because working toward the goals requires at least "minimum
Goals must be identified. This can be perhaps less obvious
than imagined. For example:
- One simplistic goal can be to maximize
attendance. However, the planning function may
actually conclude that beyond a point, more is
- Program Scope
- There is a constant struggle to maximize scope to
allow for maximum possible programs, balanced
with avoiding not adequately addressing the
- There is an obligation to honor scope; the
attendees expect the activities to follow the
Once goals are defined, it is easier to identify the most
effective path to reach those goals. Examples of issues and
- To meet the minimum participation level, some
external contact methods may be used or useful.
- Program Development
- Interesting issues arise in an attempt to foster
relationships with outsiders to secure programs.
- Here we can focus on how programs are selected,
general techniques to follow the
"scope" part of the goals, gauging
success toward meeting those goals.
- Do you follow the same routine with a meeting or
do you add the unexpected for variety? Pros and
Cons exist under either choice.
- Schedule the same meeting time to develop a
regular attendance roster or rotate for broader
but less certain involvement?
To execute the techniques and strategy to achieve goals, the
ever present issue of volunteer staffing comes up:
- How to you secure these folks?
- How do you look for, what screen methods or
- What are the job descriptions; how do you
structure and define this organization's needs?
- What rotation do you like to see or do you mandate?
- What is the role of elections? How should they be
styled, how formal is the process and in fact how
formal is or should be the entire organization?
A complete discussion could include the area of documentation.
These items may or may not exist or may not get prepared.
However, these are simply thoughts on what could be done in the
"perfect" world if we all had nothing else to do.
- In the Planning function, this area relates to volunteer
"staff" turnover and organization continuity
- As new people take over the defined functions,
this documentation can provide all that would be
needed to "ramp up" for their job.
- Document examples and components
- The formal rules of operation = Sample
"Charter" or By-Laws.
- Less formal and more easily modified
Procedure/Policy based on experience of what
- Reports on meetings and experiences.
- This element and activity can actually draw a circle
right back to the development and maintenance of the
organization's goals by documenting the entire process
It is an interesting question who makes the above decisions,
how are or should they be "approved?" For instance, if
there were a screen process to improve the quality of
participants for a job, who screens the screeners?
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