We are better at formulating strategies and setting objectives than implementing and following up. Better at starting things than to follow through.

Organizations – in part as a consequence – are overloaded and visibility to initiatives unclear. It may take years to complete what has been started. What ‘is’ gets it the way of what ‘should be’. Visibility is blurred and you can hardly move. Or, at least that is how it feels.

Slowness, unwillingness, or inability to act cause unnecessary economic losses and sadly put well-being at risk.

This is not new.

What is new is that the price and risk exposure are increasingly unaffordable. Some even feel that they have ended in a place where they never wanted to be.

Increasingly people suffer and opportunity is wasted. Increasingly money is lost.

If you have too much autonomy, you try to tighten up. If you have too much bureaucracy you try to loosen up – or go agile. Not really sure what the best thing to do is – or if it will work.

Many end up living with what they have – or betting the house on huge (often ill-conceived) transformations.

How did it come to this?, one might ask!

More and more complexity – in the shape of ‘nasty surprises’ – is at play when value is won or lost.

With reality appearing to run faster and faster it becomes increasingly difficult for the strategy and plans to follow pace.

Complexity can be highly confusing!

In responding, what your experience or intuition tell you may be misleading.

AI and other modern tools can help, but will never fully ‘fix’ the problem. They may even come in your way and elude to promises that will not hold true.

Complexity as a raw force cannot be tamed, controlled or prevented, but complexity can be navigated in – and in that sense managed.

The book ‘UNMESS’ is about tangible things you can do to off-load, increase clarity and adjust your collaborative culture to aid strategy formulation and strategy execution (I now call this #OpenStrategy).

Building on Donella Meadows idea of a dance I have some ideas for how to change the dynamics.

It starts with shifting the balance of strategy and objective setting from the corner office and towards the middle of your organization. It also starts by accepting that something different is required.

The urgency to open up the strategy process and the need of involving a broader group of people is one of the biggest trends in the technology industry at the moment.

The problems I describe above are something that all organizations phase. But the conditions for dealing with them are changing – the old ways will no longer work – if they ever have.

I call it Collaborative Lean Portfolio Management – CLPM. I wrote a book about it. The nick-name for the book is ‘UNMESS with CLPM’.

UNMESS with CLPM is available from Amazon as part of the UNPERFECT Series (Link to Amazon).

=== Public presentations and displays:

  • #XP2023, June 2023
  • UNMESS with CLPM, book (link above), April 2023
  • 14th Strategy Execution Forum, March 2023
  • #ScanAgile23, March 2023
  • (Rehearsal on YouTube, March 2023)
  • (In Danish) Børsen online, December 2023
  • #Boye22, November 2022

Find the latest links from ‘Downloads’ (CLICK HERE) [Use link above for the book UNMESS!]

=== Debate and feedback – LinkedIn and Twitter: #clpm #unmess #42stc