Short-term planning is any planning whose horizon is within the next two years. Planning within this category is tactical or operational in nature. It is focused on responding to the immediate needs of the organization long-term, strategic planning. Common tasks that fall within this category include project management, budgets, and resource allocation (McNurlin & Sprague, 2006).

Project management is a task common in short-term planning. Many tools exist to assist managers in managing projects. Microsoft Project is an excellent tool to assist in this process. Microsoft Project includes schedule and resource planning tools that are needed for many project management tasks. Additionally, it includes a scenario tool that allows users to see the impact of different changes on the project environment. Finally, Microsoft Project includes the ability to interface with SharePoint, Microsoft's intranet server tool (Microsoft, 2009).

Long-term, or strategic, planning is focused on planning beyond the two year mark. It seeks to guide information systems by creating a view of the future that can be planned for today. Examples of tasks that fall within this category include setting the organization's vision and defining business goals (McNurlin & Sprague, 2006).

One technique for strategic planning is critical success factors. Critical success factors are the key areas that each senior manager must get right in order for the organization to succeed. Senior managers must monitor these factors and make long-term decisions to keep these metrics within acceptable ranges. The most important aspect of the critical success factor technique is discovering the vital measures. Once senior management understands what factors are most important to the organization's success, information systems can be planned around them (McNurlin & Sprague, 2006).

References

McNurlin, B. C. & Sprague, Jr., R. H. (2006). Information systems management in practice (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Microsoft Corporation. (2009). Microsoft Office Project Standard 2007 product overview. Retrieved October 9, 2009.