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So it’s that time again when we’re starting to agree the Library’s plan for the next few years. As far as I can see there are two different ways of doing this:

  1. Start with a blank sheet of paper
  2. Start with last year’s plan and update it

Whilst there are pros and cons of each side of this, it does seem to be that throwing away all the work that was done in the previous year to develop that plan and starting again with a blank sheet is a bit of a waste, especially if that is what you do every year. There does have to be a balance though, as you can’t just re-use the same plan again without reviewing it and you do need to take account of what’s changed since you wrote the plan.

Some of the factors to think about when deciding how much of a re-write is needed are:

  • how well the plan worked last year;
  • how much of what we set out to do was accomplished;
  • whether at top level it still feels relevant;
  • how long ago the whole thing was first written and how much it has been re-worked since then;
  • changes in the internal & external environment;
  • likely future situation.

I seem to keep writing that it’s important to find the balance between different ideas, and this is another situation where you need to balance what you want to achieve against the time that’s needed to create the plan. You need to make sure that your plan is relevant and appropriate, but sometimes I feel we are often in danger of spending too much time nit-picking the top-level priorities and then can end up rushing writing the activities that sit under those. This can mean there isn’t enough discussion between the different areas and one puts in something that another feels can’t actually be achieved in that time. Or that a large area of work is missing from it.

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