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Strategic planning isn’t a guessing game about what the future holds.  It’s a way of explicitely stating what you and your team will focus on while implicitly agreeing to what you won’t.

In this post, instead of discussing why some organizations don’t do it, let’s talk about failed strategic plans from those that do.

In an infographic (membership required) by CEB (Corporate Executive Board, a Gartner company), they list five main reasons for failed IT strategic plans:

  1. Strategy in a Vacuum:  Minimal or no alignment with changing business objectives
  2. Technology-centric:  Emphasizes tactical initiatives and technologies rather than business capabilities
  3. Absence of Metrics:  Unclear metriccs to measure IT’s progress on planned objectives
  4. No Link to Execution:  IT bugets and roadmaps that do not reflect IT or business strategy
  5. Unclear Accountability:  Lack of clarity on responsbiility for accomplishing planned objectives

While we believe there are even more reasons that those above, let’s talk about how Blueprint can address each item from the list by CEB.

Collaboration (#1, #5)  is built into the product as a cornerstone feature for three key reasons.  1)  Show stakeholders your core motivations (outcomes and investments).  2)  Provide visibility and transparency to your teams regarding your definition of success (miltestones and projects).  3)  Link to your teams supporting activities that drive to success.

Directions (#3, #5) is a module within Bluepirnt where you define outcomes (the why), milestones (the when and how much) as well as approaches (the what).  These individual elements detail context and strategy but also provide for specific events (milestones) so measurement is always possible.

Foundations (#2) is the module where core organizational functions and influences are detailed.  While it’s important for IT teams to understand the technology landscape, that understanding doesn’t directly translate to over-arching business goals.  With influences, it’s possible to address these industry trends without directly translating that need into a specific IT strategy unless called for.

Portfolio and Insights (#4) are modules in the software where you enumerate your projects and confirm alignment respectively.  When you define a project in Blueprint, you can indicate how much of that project’s dollars are directly supporting a strategic milestone.  After allocating money to strategy, the Insights module let’s you understand your plan at a higher level.  It will show your overall portfolio’s “strategic health.”

Regardless of why your strategic plans are falling short, we believe the simplicity of Blueprint can help you get back on track.  Don’t give up on the whole process simply because it can be overwhelming.  Your team deserves clear direction and your business partners value the “transparent agenda.”