In this post, you will find a brief overview of BMM and then discuss the application of VDML to further detail and refine the strategy and to support transformation planning and management. This discussion is not intended as a standard method, but illustrates how VDML can be used to improve the discipline and rigor of strategic planning and transformation.

VDML Support for BMM Strategic Planning

The OMG Business Motivation Model (BMM) defines a framework for the capture of strategic planning information. This framework reflects widely accepted strategic planning techniques. The resulting strategic plans define requirements for business changes, but there remains a significant gap between these requirements and the realities of implementation. VDML (Value Delivery Modeling Language) can help bridge this gap through a more rigorous specification of the current state of the business and the future, desired state.

Overview of BMM

The diagram, below, is an abstraction of the Business Motivation Model (BMM) taken from the OMG specification. We will briefly discuss the Means and Ends that represent a strategic plan. Influencers and Assessment are elements of the strategic planning process that provide input for development and refinement of the plan, but they are not, per se, elements of a strategic plan.


The End contains elements that define the desired future characteristics of the enterprise including the Vision and Desired Result. A strategic plan, at the most abstract level, is expressed as a Vision of what the enterprise wants to be and how it wants to be perceived. This is complementary to the Mission, below.

The desired result consists of Goals and Objectives. A goal is a long-term, qualitative result that the enterprise may already be pursuing or that may be advanced as a result of a business challenge or opportunity. It defines a purpose for the strategy. Objectives are specific, measurable results to be achieved by a strategy, and they support enterprise goals. While there may be many measures of performance, objectives focus on selected, key measurements that reflect progress toward the strategy and goals from a management and investor perspective.


The Means contains elements that describe how the future state of the enterprise will be achieved based on the Mission, Course of Action and Directives. The Mission expresses why the enterprise exists—what it wants to accomplish. Successful pursuit of the Mission should support realization of the Vision.

A course of action is the approach to implementation of the Mission in pursuit of the Goals and Objectives. It consists of Strategy and Tactics. A strategy defines how the mission will be pursued and objectives will be achieved. In conventional strategic planning, it is an abstract description of how the enterprise will operate in the future. Typically, there will be multiple aspects to a strategy, potentially representing the integration of different ideas. Tactics are incremental changes to the state of the enterprise that lead to the desired future state required by the Strategy. The distinction between strategy and tactics is somewhat subjective. Tactics will focus on resolving particular problems and steps toward implementing related changes.

Directives are the business policies and business rules that are to be incorporated in the future state of the enterprise. Policies are statements of business operating requirements. Business rules define operating criteria or constraints in specific circumstances. Business rules implement business policies.

Overview of BMM

Overview of BMM

Application of VDML

VDML does not address all aspects of a business transformation. We expect that VDML will be used to support strategic planning and transformation, program management for the operations and capabilities of the business. It will be complemented by related efforts such as development of policies, analysis and development of markets, design of incentives and development of contractual relationships.

Strategic planning process

Strategic planning process

The basis for consideration of changes is a VDML As-Is model. This represents the current state of the business and will contain measurements reflecting current business operations. It provides a context for understanding problems and assessing solutions.

An idea is a potential strategy at an inspirational stage of development. When that idea is refined, validated and accepted, it becomes a strategy (or a component of a more complex strategy). We start with consideration of one idea to improve the business. The diagram, above, depicts steps of development of an idea through transformation of the business. We will discuss each of these steps in the paragraphs that follow.

Step 1 involves consideration of alternative approaches to implementation of an idea under consideration. Each alternative should be modeled as a VDML To-Be model. The VDML model will support analysis of the idea to define a cohesive impact on the organization, capabilities, activities, resources, value contributions and value propositions, potentially including business partners.

Step 2 involves selection of the preferred alternative. The To-Be model provides the basis for estimating activity value contributions as a result of the changes along with their impact on value propositions. It also provides the basis for estimation of transformation costs and duration.

In Step 3, VDML will provide the basis for planning the work of transformation. The changes identified in step 2, above, must be organized into implementation phases. Each phase will have a package of changes to be implemented together. Some changes may be dependent on others—the VDML deliverable flows will help identify these dependencies. Each phase should achieve implementation of a stable business state that can be measured. If possible, each phase should yield business benefit.

Step 4 is applied prior to each phase. A To-Be model is developed or refined for the next phase. The To-Be model incorporates the activities, capabilities and resources to be developed in that phase. This, in turn, identifies the organization units responsible for the changed business operations as well as the organization units of related activities that will require collaboration and coordination.

In Step 5, objectives are developed for the next phase based on the To-Be model and the transformation plan. The phase To-Be model includes measurements for the expected value contributions of activities that are affected by the transformation. Changes to value contributions for each affected activity will be targets for performance by the organization unit that provides the supporting capability. The impact on aggregated values will be targets for the overall undertaking for the enterprise or the targeted line(s) of business.

Step 6 involves doing the work of transformation. Each phase may be managed as a separate project with a detailed plan. The project must address all aspects of the transformation for that phase including changes in products, technology, organization, personnel, facilities, information systems, and activity inputs and deliverables. Some aspects are beyond the scope of a VDML model, but the VDML model will help identify them.

At the end of each phase, an As-Is model is developed in Step 7 as a new baseline. This model should be very similar to the To-Be model for the phase, but the measurements are actual value measurements. These measurements are compared to the To-Be expected value measurements to evaluate success of the phase.

Continuous transformation

In the real world, enterprises do not focus on the implementation of one idea at a time. As some ideas are being implemented, other ideas will emerge. These new ideas will affect some of the same business elements undergoing transformation. Some ideas will be completed while work on other ideas remains to be done. The following paragraphs extend the above transformation steps to reflect on-going, continuous transformation for implementation of multiple ideas.

In Steps 1 and 2, a new idea may be evaluated and change requirements identified based on the current As-Is model as discussed, above, but the overall evaluation should also consider changes already planned for other ideas that affect some of the same business elements.

In step 3, the changes for the new idea must be reconciled with the To-Be models of pending phases of the current strategy, and the program plan must be updated to reflect these changes and align phases.

In Step 4, based on the alignment of new changes to pending changes, a To-Be model must be developed or adjusted for at least the next phase.

In Step 5, to the extent the next phase is expected to achieve different results with the newest idea, it will be necessary to reconsider which value measurements are appropriate objectives for that phase.

Step 6 involves completion of the current phase, potentially with changes for multiple ideas. In a continuous transformation environment, implementation of some ideas may be completed while work on other ideas continues.

Step 7 involves evaluation of phase objectives at the end of each phase as well as the end objectives for completed ideas.


The primary contributions of VDML to strategic planning involve support for Goals, Strategies, Objectives and Tactics.

A VDML To-Be model provides the measurements and value propositions of an idea implementation for consideration of its contributions toward goals. The VDML model for a particular implementation becomes a detailed strategy. It provides detail for planning and evaluation of the transformation plan. Measurements of the To-Be model and the transformation plan become the basis for objectives for transformation phases and completion of strategies. Phases of the transformation plan may be considered Tactics.

Application of VDML will bring a change to the way strategic planning and business transformation are performed. Not only will it enable better planning and monitoring, but it will enable more effective management of complex and multi-faceted transformations needed to keep up with rapid changes of business and technology.