Adrian
3 min readMar 24, 2024

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Defining the Strategy

Strategic Management Series

In a previous post an organization’s strategy was defined as a set of coordinated and sustainable actions following a set of well-defined goals, actions devised into a plan and designed to create value and overcome an organization’s challenges. In what follows are described succinctly the components of the strategy.

A strategy’s definition should start with the identification of organization’s vision, where the organization wants to be in the future, its mission statement, a precise description of what an organization does in turning the vision from concept to reality, its values — traits and qualities that are considered as representative, and its principles — the guiding =laws and truths for action. All these components have the purpose at defining at high-level the where (the vision), the why (the mission), the what (the core values) and by which means (the principles) of the strategy.

One of the next steps that can be followed in parallel is to take inventory of the available infrastructure: systems, processes, procedures, practices, policies, documentation, resources, roles and their responsibilities, KPIs and other metrics, ongoing projects and initiatives. Another step resumes in identifying the problems (challenges), risks and opportunities existing in the organization as part of a SWOT analysis adjusted to organization’s internal needs. One can extend the analysis to the market and geopolitical conditions and trends to identify further opportunities and risks. Within another step, not necessarily disconnected from the previous steps is devised where the organization could be once the problems, risks, threats and opportunities were addressed.

Then the gathered facts are divided into two perspectives — the “IS” perspective encompasses the problems together with the opportunities and threats existing in organization that define the status quo, while the “TO BE” perspective encompasses the wished state. A capability maturity model can be used to benchmark an organization’s current maturity in respect to industry practices, and, based on the wished capabilities, to identify an organization’s future maturity.

Based on these the organization can start formulating its strategic goals — a set of long-range aims for a specific timeframe, from which are derived a (hierarchical) set of objectives, measurable steps an organization takes in order to achieve the goals. Each objective carries with it a rational, why the objective exists, an impact, how will the objective change the organization once achieved, and a target, how much of the objective needs to be achieved. In addition, one can link the objectives to form a set of hypotheses — predictive statements of cause and effect that involve approaches of dealing with the uncertainty. To pursue each objective are devised methods and means — the tactics (lines of action) that will be used to approach the various themes. It’s important to prioritize the tactics and differentiate between quick winners and long-term tactics, as well as to define alternative lines of actions.

Then the tactics are augmented in a strategy plan (roadmap) that typically covers a minimum of 3 to 5 years with intermediate milestones. Following the financial cycles the strategy is split in yearly units for each objective being assigned intermediate targets. Linked to the plan are estimated the costs, effort and resources needed. Last but not the least are defined the roles, management and competency structures, with their responsibilities, competencies and proper level of authority, needed to support strategy’s implementation. Based on the set objectives are devised the KPIs used to measure the progress (success) and stir the strategy over its lifecycle.

By addressing all these aspects is created thus a first draft of the strategy that will need several iterations to mature, further changes deriving from the contact with the reality.

Originally published at https://sql-troubles.blogspot.com. Created: May-2019, Last Reviewed: Mar-2024

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Adrian

IT professional/blogger with more than 24 years experience in IT - Software Engineering, BI & Analytics, Data, Project, Quality, Database & Knowledge Management