Evaluating Strategic Planning (and Implementation) Software

October 14, 2021 Jamie Notter

A critical piece to your system of execution (“getting shit done”) is the flow of information and transparency. In other words, if you’re going to make progress on getting shit done, then everyone needs to be able to see the progress so they can spot the roadblocks before they become too big.

You have almost unlimited options for sharing information related to your execution, ranging from putting everything into a giant shared google doc, to buying fancy (and expensive) dashboard software for every aspect of your organization. In between those extremes, you can find some software packages that are specifically focused on KPIs and strategic plan implementation. Here are some examples:

Cascade Strategy. An established platform used by many large enterprises, it allows for customization and is not tied to any particular methodology or system.

Entomo. This is an example of a platform that addresses multiple areas, including performance management, career management, and strategic planning.

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Perdoo. This platform is designed specifically around the OKR methodology, and offers resources for understanding and getting started using the methodology, as well.

Align. This platform is oriented around the Scaling Up methodology (which is the root of the system that we use) and offers a discount for nonprofits.

At PROPEL, we manage our own priority-based execution system using Align, and (as mentioned above) because it is rooted in the same system we use when coaching our clients, we’re often using it with clients. Here’s what we like about using Align:

  • It automatically tracks progress on our quarterly priorities. We enter in the numbers each week, and it gives us a red/yellow/green indicator which will help focus our weekly conversations.
  • It integrates daily and weekly huddles. We use the platform to record the results of our daily and weekly meetings. This is really helpful when looking back during a quarter to spot patterns we might have missed otherwise.
  • It connects to our long-term strategy. There is room to enter every aspect of our “2-Page Strategic Plan” that maps our direction from 20 years out to the next three months. While most of our time in Align is spent looking at the current quarter, it’s great to be able to quickly open up our 1-year and 3-year targets as we’re making adjustments.
  • It tracks “critical numbers.” We usually put our leading indicators in that category, so on one page I can see how we’re doing on the priorities AND whether we’re keeping up on the leading indicators. This helps us shift sooner rather than later.
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As you evaluate software platforms, make sure you can accomplish these things. The whole purpose here is to keep your team focused and improve decision making by making the RIGHT things transparent.

Jamie Notter

Jamie is an author and growth strategist at PROPEL, where he helps leaders integrate culture, strategy, and execution to achieve breakthrough performance and impact. He brings twenty-five years of experience to his work designing culture-driven businesses, and has specialized along the way in areas like conflict resolution and generations. Jamie is also the co-author of three books—Humanize, When Millennials Take Over, and The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement—and holds a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.
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