Providing context to the MESA 3.0 diagram

Previously on…

In my article Roadmap your product or service portfolio with a MESA, I presented the roadmap diagram that serves as the core and primary visualization of a MESA (Michigan Enterprise Strategic Assessment).

MESA diagram (image by Dan Kiskis)

This diagram provides a great one-page visualization of the roadmap for a collection of products or services in…

I completely agree with your diagnosis, but I disagree (slightly) on your prescription. Because SWOT exercises are so well known, it's going to be difficult to dislodge them from the state of practice in strategy development. My suggestion is to push them further back in the strategy process. Use them to test the hypothesis, as you put it. Given the context of a hypothesis, they can be used to guide the analysis and hypothesis testing.

They may also be used to provide some situational awareness. It might be better to replace them with Wardley maps for that, though.

I've written about this topic myself here:

I'm glad to see others are pointing out the shortcomings of SWOT and how it is used.

Since, as M Burnouf pointed out, people like their tools, what tool(s) would you suggest to help in the analysis if we ditch the SWOT?

I really like this. I like the 3 main things. Those are critical. I like the fact that, in the abstract, this model doesn't tie the roadmap to specific dates. This lets the roadmap change as the situation changes. It lets the Next things become the Now things once the current Now things are done. I also find that I build roadmaps as proposals of how a strategy could be implemented. If I tie Now to, let's say, Q1 of the current fiscal year, it might be Q3 before the roadmap gets approved, at which time it's out of date. Now, Next, and Later solves that.

“Strategy for the Rest of Us” was born from my observation that many (most?) front-line and mid-level managers haven’t received any training in strategy. Even leadership training courses, such as ones I’ve attended, only spend a small portion of their course time on strategy. Many leaders think they know about…

Dan Kiskis, PhD

Strategic Thinking Coach, Enterprise Architect, Stoic, Humanist. I like to help people find the path to what they think is important.

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