IT Strategy Director

This role is one of my aspirations to work in near future. I have been working on IT industry for 21 years on different roles and I have invested on learning about strategy for so long, as this strategic view of the work enabled me to succeed on my duties.

The title name? it could be IT Strategy Director, it could be Chief Strategy Officer, it could be Strategy , Practice Lead, Strategy consultant…

All this background gives you experience on the ground about how things works.

Values when working on Strategy

There are some bases I consider important when working on strategy, and I would like to mention it:

  1. Strategy is an iterative process: you define a purpose, a direction and then you adapt through the course of your journey.
  2. You cannot separate strategy of execution: this means, you have to work on the real things happening, gain awareness of it and adapt your capabilities to the new challenges happening.
  3. Strategy is not just at executive level: all roles of an organization has a strategic perspective, a healthy organization understands it and promotes this way of thinking.
  4. Strategy is linked to the resolution of complex problems: one of the key aspects of the work is the identification of the root causes of the problems in a given context, avoiding the oversimplification and understanding that these problems are complex in their nature.
  5. Technology is an accelerator lever for almost any strategy. I work with technology because you can use it to accelerate and change the way things are done. There is still a lot of things that are done in the old way: some still not realize it, some others asks for help (I need a “transformation”) and some others have it in their DNA (business and IT are the same thing). Are there exceptions? sure.


Depending on the purpose of the role, the responsibilities and accountability can change (subject to context), but in general I would say these duties are critical for the role:

  • Facilitate the creation of strategy
    • Define a common language that enable the definition of basic principles when discussing about strategy.
    • Work with executives or operational managers on the key questions and elements of the strategy, so these people can define the choices they have and how to tackle the capabilities they have into value.
    • Identify, the evolution needs of the identified components of the portfolio, enable the prioritization of them.
    • Understand the climatic patterns that mainly affect the context analyzed.
    • Support the identification of predominant doctrines into the organization, and work on the definition of actions to improve them.
    • Work on a set of potential gameplays that will enable the competitive advantage expected to create a superior value to the customer.
    • Evaluate the strategic fit of the proposed actions.
    • Review periodically the timing of the market to perform certain actions.
    • Measure the true power of an organization to perform certain strategic moves.
    • Support the definition of the “user”, all its features, how it works, how it behaves…
    • Adapt the strategic syllabus to the operational landscape (KPIs, OKRs, business metrics, etc.).
    • Set measurable OKRs.
  • Coordinate the Creation of Strategy
    • Once the strategy at different levels is being defined and approved, they have to be coordinated. At this point, to be the right link between autonomous teams or business units and ensure they are coordinated and aligned.
    • Resolution of conflicts at strategic level, and enablement of the right positive tension between the different teams.
    • Track and link benefits and enablers for the business of these actions on component evolution.
    • Work on the definition of the strategic approach for a major RFP.
  • Ensure the Consistency of Strategy
    • Choices are taken and discarded at many levels of an organization, the different groups have to be able to understand their context, define their strategy and put it in place. These one have to be aligned with the strategies dependent of them.
    • Identify and eliminate duplications in the environment.
  • Portfolio Value Alignment & Governance
    • Partner with business leads to develop and review lean business cases, linking business benefits to IT investments for funding and allocation requests.
    • Help mature Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) and their use / tie to work plans.
    • Ensure governance processes are applied consistently for different type of delivery (Waterfall, Scrum, Scaled Agile, ITIL…).
  • Program Team Leadership
    • Work with business leads to capture and track new demand requests, ensuring tie against portfolio goals / strategy through end to end process.
    • Support routine meetings for portfolio reviews, namely: new demand request adjudication, portfolio re-allocation, and status reporting.
    • Work with specified accountability and working on details “Cross the river feeling the stones”.
  • Finance
    • Identify the value of each IT asset provides to business.
    • Identify the main cost issues that each IT asset has, and how these costs are allocated.
    • Link the assets duplication with cost duplication.
    • Build business cases with the IT responsible of the assets to remove operational costs and duplications.
    • Link financial goals to maturity evolution goals.

Tools and techniques

To perform this work several frameworks, models, tools are required:

  • Wardley Maps,
  • Cynefin,
  • Team Topologies,
  • Estuarine mapping,
  • Six Sigma,
  • Competitive analysis.

Knowledge in other strategic schools and authors is required too

  • Playing to Win,
  • Positioning school (M. Porter),
  • Learning school,
  • Planning school,
  • Blue Ocean,
  • Entrepreneurship school,
  • Power school,
  • Configuration school,
  • Patterns of Strategy

How to do it?

The central topic is: conversations. Create great conversations can be done in many ways.

There are some concrete ways that can enable great conversations. Some examples:

  • Training workshops using Wardley Mapping as central topic.
  • Business workshops using Wardley Mapping as tool to model the landscape discovery and strategic approach that fits in a given organization.
  • Competitive analysis: perform concrete analysis of an industry, companies or specific group of people.
  • Revision of existing strategy roadmaps and identification of issues, unrealistic approaches, and valuable aspects of that given proposition.
  • Work with specific teams on their strategy and quickly guide them into the adoption of Wardley Mapping for decision making processes and the cultivation of strategic attitudes.
  • Work on alignment of efforts of different autonomous groups of work.

Where can I find something else?

You can access to these two sections of this site:

I am looking forward to work on this role and being able to provide value to your organization. Please, in case this is appealing to you, get in touch with me.

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