Strategic Planning Part V: Organizing Business Initiatives and Building a Roadmap
By Jibility Co-Founder Chuen Seet
In the last article on the strategic planning, you learned about assessing capabilities and creating business actions to drive changes to your capabilities. Now, we’ve reached the final stage of strategic planning, where you package actions into business initiatives and then sequence those initiatives on a time horizon to build a business roadmap!
What Is a Business Initiative?
A business initiative is a package of work comprised of related business actions. Companies use business initiatives to drive internal change or to help them achieve their strategic vision. However, unlike business objectives or actions, business initiatives are logically grouped for execution, so they are ready to be assigned and carried out by a team or a department.
Creating Business Initiatives
Throughout this series, we’ve been following the strategic planning process for a furniture retail chain who is looking to expand their business and increase their retail sales. In the last article, after assessing their capabilities, the furniture retail chain created the following business actions:
- Hire a Marketing Director.
- Conduct Market Research.
- Design Awareness Level Marketing Campaigns.
- Hire a Freelance Marketing Agency.
- Hire a Digital Marketing Manager.
- Create Budget for New Location Scouting.
- Model ROI for Each New Location.
Examples of Business Initiatives
However, now it’s time to group these actions into business initiatives. Looking at their actions, the furniture retail chain was able to group them into four initiatives:
- Business Initiative #1: Improve in-house marketing capabilities.
- Business Initiative #2: Execute marketing campaigns.
- Business Initiative #3: Identify new retail locations.
- Business Initiative #4: Prioritize new retail locations.
Using Jibility’s business roadmap software, the furniture retail chain was able to create these initiatives and then drag-and-drop each action into its corresponding initiative.
Notice that each business initiative is comprised of related business actions. When creating business initiatives, companies can choose to be as high level or as granular as necessary. As a mid-sized company, the furniture retail chain chose to be more granular – each initiative is essentially a project that can be assigned to a single team or department.
Prioritizing Business Initiatives
Once business initiatives have been created, it’s important to prioritize them according to ROI, Cost-Benefit, as well as whether or not they can be realistically achieved. Jibility includes a 2×2 drag-and-drop prioritization matrix that allows business leaders to easily organize initiatives according to ROI, risk, and effort.
You’ll notice that the prioritization matrix includes an orange rectangle. This rectangle serves as a visualization of which business objectives make sense to implement based on Cost-Benefit. In this case, all of the business initiatives fall into the ‘Implementation Quadrant,’ meaning that they are high value and low risk / effort.
Building a Business Roadmap
Finally, it’s time to organize business initiatives on a time-horizon to generate a visual document known as a business roadmap. If you remember, throughout the strategic planning process, the furniture retail chain has generated an extensive list of challenges, objectives, capabilities, actions, and initiatives.
However, a business roadmap condenses this entire process into a simple visual document that can be shared throughout an organization and can be used to track progress toward implementation.
At this stage, the strategic planning process is complete! And now what started as a strategic vision is ready for implementation. Jibility includes multiple options for exporting the business roadmap to share throughout your organization, including PDF, Image, Excel, or PowerPoint. Below is an example of a Jibility Business Roadmap 1-Pager that was generated from the strategic planning process example followed in this series:
Benefits of Business Roadmaps
Why is having a business roadmap important? A business roadmap is a crucial bridge between strategic planning and execution that enables business leaders and strategy consultants to ensure that each division of a company is moving in-sync towards the realization of its long-term strategic vision.
Benefits of creating a business roadmap include:
- Key outcomes that must be delivered to achieve your strategic vision are sequentially arranged, and dependencies are mapped out.
- In creating a business roadmap, you develop a clear understanding of which of the organization’s capabilities, gaps, and priorities must be addressed.
- A strategy roadmap describes why your strategic vision is important and what needs to be accomplished in order to achieve that vision.
- Creating a business roadmap enables business leaders to ground their business initiatives in reality, forcing them to prioritize initiatives based on cost, value, and capability.
- Business roadmaps produce an easy-to-understand, easily shared visual document that can be quickly disseminated throughout an organization.
- Business roadmaps are collaborative documents that help streamline the strategic planning process and allow for business leaders to easily monitor progress toward implementation.
This concludes our five-part series on the strategic planning process – from beginning to end! If you missed the previous articles in the series, you can find them here:
- Strategic Planning Part I: Defining Strategic Vision and Setting Strategic Goals
- Strategic Planning Part II: Outlining Strategic Objectives and Strategic Measures
- Strategic Planning Part III: Understanding Business Challenges and Business Objectives
- Strategic Planning Part IV: Linking Business Actions to Capabilities
If you’re ready to begin the strategic planning process and generate your business roadmap, we invite you to try Jibility for free!