IT planning is a necessarily collaborative endeavor in schools. Because it requires those with disparate skills and approaches to collaborate, efficacious IT managers adopt methods they will use to make decisions and they use data upon which they agree. Especially as they begin collaborative planning, school IT managers can benefit from framing their work as discourse that leads to and is informed by design which makes use of research-like data.
Schools are organizations in which leaders are constantly seeking to improve performance. Improvement and performance are difficult concepts to define and quantify, but (like many inexact concepts) we can recognize it when we see it. Improving school IT requires managers to decide what improvements they seek to make, what evidence will indicate success, and how to make them. Improvements can be made by deploying new interventions, refining how existing interventions are instantiated, ceasing those that are ineffective or inefficient, and consolidating others. The strategies used to make these decisions can influence the support the decisions receive in the community and the ultimate success or failure of the decisions from the perspective of the many stakeholders.
For school IT managers, planning is made more complicated than it is for leaders of other organizations because schools are filled with diverse populations. The result of these complications is that problems can be differently defined and framed by different participants. They can also propose, design, and deploy much different solutions; further they assess the same solution very differently. What represents a successful solution to a technology solution to one participant (or one group of participants) can pose a severe barrier to technology by others. To minimize the threats to efficacy, and to promote more effective and efficient decision-making and problem solving, school IT managers can adopt formal processes for the collaborative planning. Following agreed upon methods to define problems, clarify intended improvements, and gather and analyze data help the disparate groups involved in efficacious IT management to make sound decisions.