Establish and maintain the service strategy.


The service strategy provides the business framework for planning and managing the work. The strategy includes consideration of the following factors at an appropriate level of abstraction:

  • The objectives and constraints for the service
  • Possible approaches to meeting those objectives and constraints
  • The resources (e.g., skills, environment, tools, new technologies) that will be needed
  • Risks associated with these factors and how they are addressed

The service strategy typically takes a long-term view of a service, reflects its entire scope, considers long-term risks, and addresses the roles to be played by multiple stakeholders, including suppliers, the customer, and other work groups.

The service strategy can play various roles, but typically and initially, it serves as the basis for senior management approving a service and committing resources to it. As work planning proceeds, and the solution, processes, resources, and risks are explored and developed, the service strategy may need to be revised.

For a short duration service, a strategy may not be developed or only developed once, in which case it is replaced by the work plan as the service work progresses and more detailed planning becomes possible.

For a long duration service, the strategy plays a continuing role in helping to maintain a long-term view of the service and its rationale, touching on various elements of the work plan but at a higher level of abstraction; whereas the work plan will typically reflect a much lower level of detail over a shorter time horizon.

A service strategy can initially be created by the organization or by prospective service staff perhaps in collaboration with potential customers and suppliers, or some other combination of parties with a strategic business view of the prospects for the service.

The service strategy can include a top-level description of the services to be provided, the approach to developing the service system, and the approach to service delivery as appropriate.

Example Work Products

  1. Service strategy


1. Identify the objectives of the service and the capabilities it intends to provide.

The organization can maintain an overall business strategy in which the service plays a role in establishing capabilities needed by the organization. The service related objectives and capabilities described in this subpractice can be derived from such considerations for the overall business, but will tend to have a specific or near-term set of objectives and capabilities.

Refer to the Strategic Service Management (STSM) (CMMI-SVC) process area for more information about establishing and maintaining standard services in concert with strategic needs and plans.

2. Identify the approach used to achieve the objectives or provide the capabilities.

There will often be an approach to developing the infrastructure needed to deliver services (i.e., technical approach) and an approach to delivery that accounts for customer satisfaction, skill levels needed, skill levels available, costs, and risks.

Refer to the Service Delivery (SD) (CMMI-SVC) process area for more information about establishing the service delivery approach.

3. Document business considerations.

Business considerations include potential costs and benefits, intellectual property, competitive climate, aging of the industry and impact on long-term needs and profit margins, core competencies of the organization to be enhanced, core competencies needed from other parties, and future trends in society, trade, and technology.

4. Identify major resource needs.

A review of the service approach helps to identify categories of resources needed for the service and the suppliers of these resources (e.g., other business groups in the organization, specific functional groups, human resources, intellectual property experts, the legal department, the marketing department, business partners, external suppliers).

Refer to the Capacity and Availability Management (CAM) (CMMI-SVC) Management process area for more information about ensuring effective service system performance and ensuring that resources are provided and used effectively to support service requirements.

5. Identify stakeholders that will play major roles in the service.

The Plan Stakeholder Involvement specific practice provides a more detailed, though perhaps shorter term, consideration of which stakeholders to involve in the service and in what way.

The service approach may be able to leverage external stakeholders (e.g., existing and potential customers and business partners) to provide some of the needed resources.

6. Identify the agreement types to be used.

To be successful, the service should establish agreements with its major stakeholders. The nature of those agreements is determined, in part, by considering each party’s needs, objectives, expectations, constraints, and risks. The types of agreements selected should be part of business considerations and thus help answer how various parties will share in the risks, costs, and benefits of the service.

7. Identify risks and how those risks can be allocated to various stakeholders.

The Identify Risks specific practice in this process area provides a more detailed, though perhaps shorter term, consideration of the risks that the service may encounter.

8. Identify the approach used to maintain safety and security in the service.

Attention to safety and security should be present in all major planning activities (e.g., those planning activities related to service objectives, resources, risks, stakeholders) but this subpractice suggests taking a holistic view and focus on safety and security issues and risks, and the activities the service might include to address them.

9. Review the service strategy with senior management and obtain its agreement.

Review the service strategy from the following key business perspectives:

  • Are these objectives the right ones?
  • Is the approach feasible?
  • Is this strategy an appropriate allocation of the organization’s resources for a prolonged period of time?
  • What is the return on investment?
  • What opportunities open up as a result of this strategy?
  • Will the organization be subjected to excessive risk?
  • What roles might some not-yet-identified major stakeholders play in service success?
  • How might customers, suppliers, and competitors react?

10. Revise the service strategy as necessary.

Depending on the duration of the service, it may be necessary to refine the service strategy to reflect changes in the objectives, approach, availability of resources, market conditions, customer needs, process and product technologies, etc.