The Figure above shows the five phases of creating a strategic plan and managing the process.  A feedback loop ensures that progress towards achieving plan goals is being monitored and that appropriate strategy adjustments are made to account for changing conditions.   

Phase 1 – Getting Started

  • Identify likely Planning Committee participants and determine their willingness to participate 
  • Establish a Strategic Planning Committee that is able to effectively identify the issues, develop practical solutions, and create clear objectives
  • Define roles and responsibilities for completing the strategic planning process
  • Assign roles and responsibilities
  • Assign the role of Facilitator for the planning process
  • Nominate a Committee Chair
  • Specify the target audience for the Strategic Plan
  • Determine the plan approval process
  • Identify and engage the appropriate people who need to participate in the Strategic Plan development effort (e.g., Federal, state, tribal, regional and local government agencies, regional utility companies, private sector, academia, etc) 

Phase 2 – Preliminary Planning


  • Schedule a kick-off meeting
  • Determine future meeting frequency and dates of planning committee
  • Determine the venue(s) for meetings and if there is an appropriate budget for amenities such as food service
  • Establish Strategic Planning Committee tools for communication exchange
  • Define locations and dates for stakeholder informational gathering sessions

 Resource Planning

  • Determine what resources are needed to complete the effort
  • Assess what resources are available and how any existing gaps can be bridged
  • Document and understand the impact of any relevant constraints to the planning process itself (time, money, people availability)


  • Identify any timing considerations, such as grant application deadlines, or other planning efforts (such as statewide IT plans)
  • Develop a schedule and establish milestone dates for completing the plan


  • Establish a Strategic Planning Committee Charter 
  • Establish sub-committees as necessary and ensure that subcommittee chairs understand what is expected of them
  • Identify factors that will ensure a successful planning process

Phase 3 – Strategizing


  • Review any existing Strategic Plan(s) 
  • Review Primary Strategic Goals
  • Review other intra-organizational mandates and mission statements that impact the current activity
  • Identify political initiatives that the Strategic Goals can support
  • Indentify roadblocks or political barriers that may inhibit the Strategic Goals
  • Review other documents and materials that are relevant to this effort
  • Understand the breadth and scope of the Strategic Plan
  • Determine period covered by the new Strategic Plan
  • Review Strategic Plan Guidelines Questions and tailor as appropriate (Facilitator)

Goal Assessment

  • Develop templates for capturing information in a structured manner, for example, develop a form for the Planning Committee to list strengths and weaknesses
  • Identify preliminary programmatic sub-goals
  • Itemize, prioritize, refine, and validate programmatic sub-goals 
  • Validate objectives with stakeholders, management, and executives
  • Identify programmatic goals with a ‘quick win’ potential and use them to show early progress
  • Develop strategies for realizing each programmatic sub-goal
  • Identify any roadblocks or barriers and tactics for overcoming them
  • Analyze Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT)
  • Iterate with stakeholders to establish consensus view

Generating Support

  • Enlist political champion(s)
  • Identify and generate consensus among involved stakeholders and executives to become advocates for the plan objectives
  • Develop a marketing strategy to promote the plan’s objectives

Phase 4 – Authoring

  • Develop content aimed at the target readership in terms of style and presentation
  • Draft a preliminary plan 
  • Identify external reviewers
  • Solicit feedback from external reviewers
  • Parse and incorporate feedback as appropriate
  • As necessary, complete further review iterations
  • Publish the Strategic Plan