When do you think it is a good time to work on a strategy? In the end of the year? Every quarter? During summer holidays? I’m not talking about formal strategic review that is “strategic” only because top managers are involved; I’m talking about the process oriented on increasing customer value.
What strategy description is about
Strategy description is nothing more, but a way to formalize your business insights, doubts, and challenges. Here are some typical questions that you might ask:
- What might be preventing your company from achieving the goals you have?
- Who do you think is your client? Who is actually your client and how can you find it out?
- What problems face your clients and how is customer value produced?
- Why your clients buy your product or service? What stop your client from buying?
- What makes your client start searching for another vendor?
- What information do you need to understand your market better? How can you obtain this information?
- What are bottlenecks in your business? What business system do you need to tweak?
The actual strategy is a mix of reasons, problems, and solutions. If one say that their strategy is simple, then he or she is talking about top level goal, while the existence of a detailed strategy is implied and it is hopefully described somewhere in a written form.
- The strategy is about answering in the details to the “Why?” and “How?” questions of your business.
Strategy “bad practice”
There are various books and articles about strategy best practices, but there is one big and very dangerous “bad practice.” I’m talking about “silo thinking” when an access to the strategy document by company employees is very limited. Such strategies don’t get a buy in from employees and are hard to execute.
- Strategy is everyone’s job, instead of hiding it under several bureaucratic layers consider sharing it with your own employees.
Strategy magic pill doesn’t exists, but…
Finally, all strategies are individual and only you with your experience can produce the best strategy for your company. How can we help? Our BSC Designer can save you hours of unnecessary technical work. BSC Designer software helps you a lot with a strategy description. Check out what our users say about this.
Any leader has it’s own style and approach to the strategy description:
- You can have just a basic strategy map, and focus more on KPIs, or
- The main part of your strategy might be business maps where KPIs are used for control points, or
- You might follow Balanced Scorecard framework.
BSC Designer can help you whatever your case is.
Some case studies
To illustrate the variety of possible approaches to strategy description let me show you two case studies. One comes from Mexico and another from Germany. As you can see in these two cases, BSC Designer was used in a completely different way. I could share even more case studies, but the idea is that:
- Strategy definition is unique; a scheme to follow is individual in each of the cases;
- Strategy description is more formal and software automation can help.
How exactly can BSC Designer help? It depends a lot on your needs, the good starting point to research the software is to check out video manuals for various features.
What pair programming have to do with a strategy?
Finally, you might be curious about the title that we chose for this article: “Pair programming vs. strategy description.” Let me explain. Pair programming is agile software development technique that helps to improve code quality. In theory, this idea can be applied to any domain, what about strategy description and business scorecards?
We did an analysis of BSC Designer PRO licenses sold to small business clients and we noticed an interesting trend:
- Customers who bought 2 licenses are 60% more likely to stay active with their scorecard projects after the first year (as far as we can track this by questions directed to customer support and regular updates) than those who bought just 1 license.
When we found this out, the first hypothesis was that they pay more and as a result they are more serious about their project. This sounded logically, but we decided to go ahead and interviewed some of these customers.
It appeared that they used an approach that was very similar to the pair programming, but applied to strategy and KPIs domain.
Probably this pair approach to the strategy was one the reasons why they were more successful with their business scorecards (we know that their scorecard projects survived at least after the first year).