I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out the idiot-proof strategy template from the book Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, so here’s a summary. Next time you need to put together a strategy for solving a problem, try this out.
The template has three sections:
- Diagnosis: What’s the problem to solve?
- Policy: What guiding principle will you apply to the problem to solve it?
- Actions: When the policy is applied to the diagnosis, what actions do you see?
Here’s a made up example. Notice how the meat is in the policy. A good policy includes a tough tradeoff.
Diagnosis: I can’t decide if I want to move into management or stay on the independent contributor (IC) path.
- If I move into management, I may lose my engineering edge, and I may miss writing code.
- If I stay on the IC path, I can’t spend much time on the people and process stuff that I love. Plus, I may limit my growth.
- I’ll read The Effective Manager and An Elegant Puzzle in the next month.
- I’ll update my resume this week.
- I’ll start applying for management roles next week.
- I’ll maintain my side project in my personal time so I don’t have to completely stop writing code.