Project Strategy

Strategic Planning and Design Thinking


Strategic planning is a facilitated group process of defining an organization’s plan for achieving its mission.

A challenge expressed by teams is that the resulting formal strategic plan will be bound and shelved until the next planning cycle. An approach to sustain dynamic engagement with the planning process and enhance the outcome is to leverage strategic thinking.

Strategic thinking is a dialog model to facilitate the exploration of directional opportunities and threats, much like a SWOT analysis as a specific instantiation. The critical facet of strategic thinking is its divergent nature, and follows the same concepts as Design Thinking. This is where individuals and teams create distinctive value-added concepts and ideas, and innovation is fostered. Strategic thinking involves systems thinking, focus on outcome, finite time constraints, and testing of ideas (early-lean strategy).

Just as in the Project Design-Project Planning cycle, strategic planning is applied as a convergent process and made operational with analytical rigor.

Input-Output Process Model: Strategic Planning


  • Vision (setting-process) describing focal issue, preferred future, and aspirations
  • Mission (definition and clarity) statement of core purpose and why
  • Guiding principles (organizational value-system)
  • Objective (setting-process)
  • Situation Analysis (environmental survey-preparation) including change drivers
  • CSFs-essential information from organizational leaders and domain experts


  • SWOT (strategic thinking)
  • Scenario Planning (focal issue uncertainty)
  • Hoshin (structure and measurement)
  • Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Maps
  • Logic Models (Outcome & Impact)


  • Validated assessment of SWOT categories by group ideally with external participant or information sources
  • Hoshin Plan at first level and ready for cascading deployment
  • Strategic Alignment of organizational mission, objectives, strategies and project goals.

Follow-on work:

  • Organizational Alignment with well defined project and user roles and responsibilities, and change management as needed.
  • Process Alignment and integration with current processes and re-designed or new processes

Implementation Sequence Outline:

  1. Environmental survey macro issues and trend (preparation and analysis)
  2. Balanced Scorecard or Strategy Map
  3. Develop a Shared Vision (vision and mission)
    1. Narrative of organization state in three years
    2. Guiding principles
    3. Organization value system (documented)
  4. Develop Strategic Goals and Objectives (SWOT)
  5. Develop the Strategic Plan (Hoshin)
    1. Mission, Objectives, Strategies, Tactics, Measurement (cascading & linked)
    2. Strategy Map
    3. Align organizational culture to strategy
  6. Critical Success Factors
  7. Scenario Planning
  8. Project Design-What is the value added through design?
  9. Develop the execution plans (PMBOK, Agile, etc)