24 Strategic Planning Techniques
John Spacey, September 09, 2015 updated on March 21, 2021
Strategic planning is the process of developing a strategy and planning its execution. Organizations and teams typically develop a concrete strategy for a financial year. Beyond that it is somewhat common to create a long term plan that sets targets for the future. The following are techniques that are commonly used to plan a strategy.
BenchmarkingBenchmarking is the comparison of your metrics with a competitor or industry average. For example, a firm may consider how much its spending on innovation or technology relative to its industry.
Budget PlanningIn many cases, strategy formation is closely tied to an annual or quarterly budget planning process.
Business AnalysisValidating the assumptions that underlie your strategy with business analysis techniques such as voice of the customer or statistical analysis.
Business CasesA business case is a formal proposal for a strategy that includes analysis of benefits, costs and risks.
Business ModelsA business model is the framework that an organization uses to capture value. In most cases, a strategy adds products, services and capabilities to an existing business model. Occasionally a strategy may also seek to transform a business model or enter new industries.
Business PlansA business plan is a proposal for a major new initiative such as entering a new market or transforming a technology platform. Business plans are most typically targeted at investors in new businesses but can be developed internally where due diligence is required.
Capability AnalysisDescribing your organization as a set of capabilities and identifying gaps that represent a competitive weakness or new capabilities that represent a potential advantage.
Competitive IntelligenceThe practice of gathering information about competitors, markets, products, industry trends and customers. Competitive intelligence is a fundamental input for strategy planning.
EstimatesDeveloping preliminary estimates for strategic plans using a high level estimation methodology such as reference class forecasting.
Financial AnalysisAnalysis of financial metrics such as return on investment and payback period.
ForecastingStrategy planning often requires forecasts such as predictions of market demand.
Goal PlanningA goal is a desired outcome. Strategy is primarily driven by goals in the context of the opportunities and threats that exist in the market. It is common to define goals as a starting point of strategy planning.
Goal SettingGoal setting is a means of strategy implementation that sets goals for your organization, departments, teams and individual contributors.
Management AccountingA collection of accounting techniques that support management decision making and optimization.
Market AnalysisAn analysis of market conditions such as size, growth rates, demographics, influencers and trends. Important to industries such as technology and fashion that experience a high rate of market driven change.
Mission and VisionMission and vision are fundamental statements of why you exist and where you are going. Organizations with a strong sense of identity and purpose tend to develop more effective strategies.
PrioritizationIn most cases, an organization develops far more strategies than it's possible to execute due to constraints such as budget and time. As such, prioritization is a critical strategy planning step that decides what gets done. A strict ranking of priorities typically achieves more than a rating system.
Risk IdentificationIt is common for strategy planning to involve early phases of risk management such as risk identification with estimates of impact and probability.
Scenario PlanningScenario planning is the practice of planning tactics in advance.
Strategic DriversStrategic drivers is a broad term for everything that influences a strategy including mission, vision, goals, values, principles, competition, regulations and markets. Listing out strategic drivers is a basic step in strategy formation.
Structured Decision MakingThe use of a process for strategic decision making such as steps that allow your entire organization to provide strategy proposals with a system of prioritization and approvals.
Structured PlanningThe use of a process for strategic planning that might include information gathering, strategy formation, estimation, business cases, reviews, decision making points, budget approvals and goal setting.
Swot AnalysisAn evaluation of current strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities.
Target Operating ModelA vision for the future capabilities of your organization.
Business StrategyThis is the complete list of articles we have written about business strategy.
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Business CaseA strategy or project proposal that outlines the case for a particular strategic direction.
Business ModelsA list of common business models.
EstimatesThe common types of estimates.
FeasibilityA definition of feasibility with examples.
Scenario PlanningAn overview of scenario planning.
Strategic DriversAn overview of common strategic drivers.
Strategy DevelopmentAn overview of the strategic development process with examples.
Business StrategyAn extensive list of business strategies.
StrategyA reasonably comprehensive guide to strategy.
Baseline vs Benchmark
The difference between a baseline and a benchmark.
Strategy vs TacticsA definition of strategy vs tactics with two examples.
Competitive AdvantageA list of common competitive advantages.
Macro EnvironmentA list of macro environment components.
Competitive Advantage vs Distinctive Capability
The difference between competitive advantage and distinctive capability.
Do Nothing Strategy
An overview of a common business strategy.
RestructuringA definition of restructuring with examples.
ManagementA guide to management techniques.
ProductivityThe basics of productivity.
Project ManagementA guide to project management.
Management StrategyA list of common management strategies.
The common types of internal benchmarking.
A definition of internal customer with examples.
A definition of business optimization with examples.
Team ObjectivesThe common types of team objective.
A definition of internal stakeholder with examples.
Management PlanningThe common types of management planning.
Management ExamplesA definition of management with examples.
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