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Strategize 

Do things on purpose, with desired outcomes, benefits and outputs defined; continually refactor

Using a strategy planning process makes sense, but is most often not employed or even understood. Strategy can be seen as difficult, tedious, expensive and unnecessary. But a good strategy provides directional guidance, milemarker waypoints and navigating principles for a journey from where you are to where you want to go. It is the GPS tool for your project.

Strategy defined as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim” suggests that the activity of strategizing should be hard. Understanding that humans are tactical and not strategic by nature helps to explain why ‘strategery’ is hard. I find it helps to remember this and to first prepare a services questions or self-checks to myself, and the team, to ask to ensure the project / process stays on track.

Strategies are important for most IT business efforts and can be high level: deliver SaaS product offering to penetrate market XYZ; mid-level: use Cloud services for non-proprietary and non-critical capabilities, or low-level: manage development with Agile Scrum tools and methods. At all level of activities establishing the desired outcome, the reason why of value to be generated, and measures and metrics of success are appropriate and valuable.

In many areas of business, best practices (or next practices) exist as frameworks and maturity models to base strategic planning and execution upon. One example is Product Management, where using good practices and a strategic framework can prevent significant issues from arising and reduce project risks.

By using basic strategy planning methods and borrowing from methodologies from other domains, Agile software development project management is simpler, faster, cheaper - Better.