What is Capability Based Planning?



At the core of Jibility is the concept of capability based planning. Used extensively for defense and military planning by the likes of the US, UK, Australia and Canada, it has become popular in the business domain, in particular for developing systems and IT related strategies.

The theory is that those organizations with superior capability to execute strategy will win – whether they are the armed forces or a business.

Thus, this approach has been adopted and codified by the business world and is now embodied in industry frameworks such as The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF®) which is used extensively for planning information technology strategy and architecture. The Business Architecture Guild® has developed an excellent in-depth guide to capability mapping (which is an excellent technique applied in capability based planning) and related business and IT architecture disciplines called A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge® (BIZBOK®). Both TOGAF® and BIZBOK® Guide are well worth a read if you want to immerse yourself in the details of capability based planning.

Whilst capability based planning has long been the tool of trade for military planners and strategists, consultants and enterprise architects, it hasn’t yet been widely understood or adopted in the broader community.

What is a Capability?


In capability based planning, a capability describes what the business does and should not be confused with just the skills or competencies of the people (which the HR function also refers to as a capability). So, a business capability is described by more than just the people perspective; it includes the process and physical perspective. In other words, a business capability can describe the processes involved, the physical objects used, and the people roles and skills required as well.


What is Capability Based Planning?


Capability based planning is an approach, supported by a collection of techniques, for:

  • identifying capabilities;
  • assessing the level of change required to each capability;
  • prioritizing the changes required; and
  • developing a plan for making the changes.

In the business context, capability based planning is an approach that can ensure that changes to an organization are aligned to the organization’s strategic vision. Typically, capabilities identified as requiring change are linked to the organization’s strategic goals or objectives.


Why Capability Based Planning Works


  • It’s a top-down, whole-of-organization approach. It breaks through departmental silos by shifting away from a functional view to a capability view.

  • It focuses directly on what an organization needs to do to execute its strategy.

  • It can provide a map of the organization’s overall capabilities to ensure that you have coverage (i.e. you haven’t missed something).

  • It directly links initiatives and projects back to capability changes and, in turn, back to the organization’s objectives. No more random initiatives that seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight don’t actually align to your strategy.

  • It cuts the wheat from the chaff. It helps you determine the highest priority capabilities that you need to develop, and related initiatives that you should focus on. It clarifies and optimizes business investment.

  • It stops you from jumping to conclusions about solutions too early. By delaying solution definition and doing it in the context of capabilities, it opens you up to alternatives rather than simply incrementing existing deployed equipment, processes and people.

  • It provides a systematic way of identifying change initiatives. Many business planning approaches define mission, goals and objectives, and then start spawning initiatives and projects. By looking at what capabilities are required to meet your objectives, it provides clarity for your initiatives.


So whatever challenges face your organization, you can be confident that capability based planning and Jibility will help you face them head on.

What is Jibility?


Following the capability based planning method, the Jibility App can be used by anyone (including Business Architects). It applies capability based planning techniques to build a strategy roadmap for:

  • The whole organization, whether large, medium or small, including start-ups
  • A business function, e.g. an IT strategy roadmap or HR strategy roadmap
  • A project or program
  • A product

Jibility features a dedicated capability mapping tool that:

  • includes pre-defined capabilities that are common to most organizations (making the creation of capability maps faster);
  • is simple to use with drag/drop building blocks specifically designed for capability mapping (where you can focus on the thinking not drawing lines and aligning boxes);
  • allows heat mapping of capabilities to identify existing, new and changed capabilities;
  • enables linking of capabilities to strategic objectives;
  • defines courses of action for capabilities with a change gap;
  • streamlines the formulation of initiatives; and
  • makes building a roadmap simple.