[foundation-board] Strategy process - a request

Jane Silber jane.silber at canonical.com
Fri Sep 14 09:57:10 UTC 2012

Hi -

Still learning my way around here, so please forgive me if I'm off base.

On 12/09/12 15:10, Becky Hogge wrote:
> At ORG we had a simple strategy document against which I, as ED, was
> able to report to the Board each month. It contained a 12-month budget
> and a set of about 12 key indicators against which I detailed the
> organisation's performance that month. As well as tracking
> performance, it also helped guide my decision making.

I agree that such a reporting and decision-making tool would be useful.  
However, ...

> I would like to propose that the Executive team be asked by the Board
> to move quickly towards creating such a document, even if it is only
> to act as an interim measure while more in-depth strategic work takes
> place.

Because I am new to the scene, I don't have the same "I've wanted this 
for a long time" feeling that Becky has.  And so I question the value of 
spending time working on a doc that reports performance against goals 
that are currently in flux.  Even if many of the component pieces exist, 
it's work to do reporting like this and to make it meaningful.  And if 
there really is an unanswered question on the table about priorities and 
goals then it seems to me that answering that question should be the 
focus of the executive team/leaders in the organisation.  I'm assuming 
that like most organisations there are very limited resources and much 
work to do, and in a choice between reporting on how we're progressing 
against unknown goals and priorities vs setting out clear goals and 
priorities, I would prefer the latter.  It may be that the goal setting 
results in the exact same reporting that could be done now, but we don't 
know that and there would be value in affirmation.

My personal preference by that the priority be to clearly lay out 
strategic goals (or even annual ones, if long term strategy is too 
daunting or uncertain in OKFN's evolution). Once that is in place, then 
regular reporting against those priorities/goals would be not only 
valuable but necessary. Spending time creating new dashboard reporting 
on the things that we happen to have data for seems less valuable to 
me.  Such reporting may tell us how fast we're travelling down a road, 
but it won't matter if it's the wrong road.


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