Strategy Management Tools and Feature Sets

Strategy Management Tools and Feature Sets

The breadth of the strategic lifecycle requires a diverse set of tools to enable effective management.  These tools should provide an integrated management approach across each phase of the strategic effort.  It is important to maintain relationships between the models and templates used during each phase of the process.  Strategy management must also maintain the relationships between the decision makers that approved the process and the individuals tasked with getting the job done.  Using strategic management, the network of dependencies is monitored and analyzed across the plan.    The result is that individual project status can be used as early indicator of strategy health and alert key stakeholders that have the ability to mitigate emerging risk before impacts are realized. 

The Scope of Strategic Plan Management

The light grey blocks are core elements of various strategic plan models and the orange blocks represents the tools and templates used to support the strategic lifecycle.  Depending upon planning approach and organizational processes, strategy management integrates these components into an integrated into a common system configured to support strategy lifecycle management. 

To be useful to an organization a tool must provide a useful set of features as well as feel a natural part of the processes and activity of that organization.   Given the critical nature of strategic planning and the implementation process, strategy management must also provide the flexibility to adapt to inherent structures and requirements.  Fundamental to strategy is the relationships between activities, leadership, and implementation teams.   

Strategy Management System Feature Sets

  • Capturing core information that is critical for decision making
  • Provides complex models to support planning approach
  • Provide management tools for each phase within the planning process
  • Support the transition between phases with information and dependencies
  • Management across the phases of the strategic process from plan design to through delivery including the realization of strategic outcomes
  • Provide traceability of linkages and dependency for the entire plan so no element within the strategic lifecycle is managed independently
  • Support risk management holistically, from managed effort through the strategic plan.
  • Maintain accountability from plan design through strategic outcome
  • Detailed management of individual strategy elements with transitions between planning and execution.
  • Identification of risk and how it is propagated during planning and execution.

Tools by Lifecycle Phase

Analysis

  • Vision
  • Market and competitive analysis
  • Internal assessments
  • Environmental Scans
  • SWAT analysis
  • Identification of challenges to achieving the vision
  • Gap assessment
  • Perspective and alignment definition
  • Trend analysis and Future Forethought
  • Strategic themes, aims, and aspirations
  • Goal identification
  • Objective development
  • Strategy map
  • Balanced scorecard
  • Scenario development and scenario selection
  • Scenario triggers
  • Gap solutions
  • Strategy development
  • Initiative definition
  • Capability and expertise evaluation
  • Risk and risk tolerance assessment
  • Balance, alignment, and resource assessment

Plan Design

Prioritization

  • Standardized evaluation question sets
  • Strategic alignment
  • Perspective alignment
  • Organizational alignment
  • Weighting & scoring rules
  • Strategy management oversight and vetting
  • Balance assessment
  • Financial vs non-financial value scoring
  • Value benefit assessment, including risk adjustment
  • Prioritization stage gate review
  • Selection and activation
  • Off-cycle evaluation
  • Portfolio Management
  • Portfolio health and status reporting
  • Risk escalation
  • Program and project management
  • Initiative planning
  • Milestone definition
  • Deliverable definition
  • Risk & risk mitigation
  • Action planning
  • Health and status reporting
  • Project & portfolio rounding

Implementation

Delivery

  • Operational action planning
  • Participant action planning
  • Operational reviews
  • Key stakeholder reviews
  • Plan assessment and accountability reviews
  • Performance indicator assessment
  • Projected vs actual measurement
  • Outcome assessment
  • Lessons learned
  • Quarterly strategy reviews
  • Monthly operational reviews
  • Performance assessment
  • Capability maturity assessment
  • Key improvement targets

Important Feature Sets

The following feature sets are critical to the overall success of the strategy management process.  They target the missing ingredient of todays tools – used in isolation.  The key to success, is the integration across these tools and models, enabling deeper analysis and understanding, so better, more informed decisions can be made.  Additionally, it is important that the identification of risk can be made as early and the impact of that risk across the plan is well understood.  

Strategy management tools provide a framework for making hard decisions consistently and with the best information available.  This includes understanding the ramifications of those decisions.  The following feature sets target these issues.

Key Strategy Phase Transitions

Transitioning from a plan to an actually implementation is key and requires common understanding:

  • Analysis reviews, focusing on key findings and challenges to be addressed
  • Action plan reviews
  • Stakeholder and participant engagement
  • Communication of objectives
  • Requests for clarification and analysis
  • Identification of leadership support
  • Status and risk escalation
  • Resource impact
  • Incremental indicators of success

Review and Monitoring

Strategy management maintains the dependencies between strategy, execution and objectives. Review processes are integrated into the management plan and support effective transition from phase to phase of the strategic process.  Reviews include:

  • Strategic Component Assessment (Goal, Strategy, and Initiative)
  • Objective Assessment, including indicator measure risk assessment
  • Strategic prioritization strategies and initiatives based on value, resource commitment, risk, balance, and synergy
  • Portfolio Reviews, for health and status
  • Action plan reviews with participating organizations
  • Program and project management reviews with project teams, stakeholders, and champions
  • Strategy Reviews
  • Off-Cycle and ad-hoc event reviews

Reviews are integrated into the planning process and become an element of health and status of the strategic plan.  Risks can be escalated from individual projects through programs, portfolio management, and individual strategy management.  The review process includes stage gate reviews where strategic decisions are assessed and made.

Linkages and Dependencies

To support success, strategy management provides detailed processes to insure the transition between vision, strategy, and execution.  Given the importance of stakeholder engagement the review process and accountability are enhanced throughout the strategy/implementation lifecycle.  of detailed planning at each level of the process are sufficient, clear and concise.  The traceability is maintained between plan goals and objectives and strategy implementation requirements.  This is so that goals and objectives drive detailed implementation planning, based upon the strategy defined.  By providing a direct linkage between the strategy execution and the metrics of success, risks and opportunities are easier to identify and help measure performance and outcome of the implementation.

Stakeholder Engagement and Accountability

Strategy management enables a consistent process that holds stakeholders and planners accountable across all phases the strategic lifecycle. Using the tools for enabling consistent reviews, and alerting on issues, strategic planning can normalize this approach. This prevents the communication gaps between hand-offs and maintains clear direction between each team.

Another advantage of strategy management is to track the capabilities, skill sets, level of commitment, and performance history of key resources. This is particularly important for executive leadership participation such as sponsors, champion, and  key stakeholders participation.  A critical element of success is that effort required by these individuals be both realistic and feasible.  Overcommitting these resources increased the risk of success to a given strategy.

Strategic Management for Your Organization

Implementation of a strategic management tool doesn’t need to be difficult.  OntoReason has created a tool that provides the features that you need and can be implemented in a hosted environment.  Contact info@ontoreason.comfor more information as to how you can start providing strategic management in your organization.

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