I've Been Thinking

Goals, Strategies and Problems
  • Home
  • A goal is something an enterprise wants to achieve. To be a well formed goal, it should be defineable and measurable.

    A strategy defines a group of problems that, when solved, will achieve the goal. The group of problems could be one or many, and a strategy may achieve one or more goals.

    The value of a problem exists in the goals that it achieves, or assists in achieving, when solved.

    The development of a strategy consists of analysing potential problems that the enterprise may wish to solve.

    To put this another way, it should be recognised that there are potentially many ways of achieving a goal, each one of which might require completely different problems to be solved. For example, an enterprise may decide has a goal of increasing its profits. This in itself, is not a problem, but it does require a problem to be solved - one that delivers increased profits. The enterprise may elect to reduce costs, increase revenue or a combination of both. Each of these is a different problem, each with a number of potential solutions.

    The most effective way of creating a strategy is to systematically work your way through the different phases, recognising that, in the end, everything is connected. To achieve a goal needs a strategy, which consists of a set of problems, which leads to a group of solutions. It is entirely possible, in fact it should be expected, that the group of solutions will have consequences that are not acceptable to the business.. This means that, in order to get a full set of goals, strategies, problems and solutions, it is necessary to treat the whole set as a single problem.

    To summarise:

    • A goal is something an enterprise wishes to achieve
    • A strategy is a set of problems that, when solved will deliver the goal.. The enterprise must select the problems it wishes to solve.
    • Each problem may have a number of solutions.
    • Solving a problem will create new problems.
    • A cost/benefit analysis of a goal comprises: the value (from solving the problems and achieving the goal) less the cost (of all the solutions and of solving the consequential problems)
    • Value analysis is top down. Cost analysis is calculated bottom up, but is based upon a top-down creation of solutions.

    Architecture is the set of activities that analyse problems and create an optimal solution. Architecture is important during the strategy phase because strategy is the processes of selecting the optimal set of problems to be solved.

    Bernard Robertson-Dunn 
    1 March 2011