Chinook Solutions often adapts the balanced scorecard to help define crystal clear strategy maps, business plans, project portfolios or performance models. It provides an important element of our Strategic DNA methodology.
The balanced scorecard is a measurement based management methodology first developed by Arthur M. Schneiderman at Analog Devices but made popular by Kaplan & Norton at Harvard. (A good historical summary is available on Wikipedia)
The method originally centred on the organization of performance metrics to allow progress to be evaluated from various points of view.
When first introduced the balanced scorecard had dramatic effects on some organizations’ performance as it promoted forward looking indicators of future performance in environments that had previously over-focused on backwards looking financial outcomes.
In its highly successful first iteration, implementations were formatted largely as measurement organization projects although early adopters also captured the linkages between metrics to build cause & effect ‘performance models’. Their projects usually had four stages:
- Define the Measurement Architecture
- Build Consensus around Strategic Objectives
- Select & Design Measures
- Build the Implementation Plan
Some suggest that in practical applicability terms the balanced scorecard’s success peaked with the generation described in the second book – “The Strategy-Focused Organization” whose methodology offered an approach for clarifying and operationalizing a strategy. Its key development was to change the focus from the measurements themselves to the change objectives they measure:
- Translating the Strategy to Operational Terms
- Aligning the Organization to Create Synergies
- Making Strategy Everyone’s Everyday Job
- Making Strategy a Continual Process
- Mobilizing Change Through Executive Leadership
Managers throughout the world have since moved from early performance models into ‘strategy maps’ that illustrate relationships between specific objectives rather than just performance metrics. These are then used these as frameworks for projectization and execution governance
But with dozens of new books being published every year reflecting the very many different ways it is used, the balanced scorecard is perhaps now more a management ‘school of thought’ than a specific methodology.