Data Dive: Best Practices in Strategic Planning for A/E Firms

PSMJ Resources, Inc.
Posted on: 03/04/20
Written by: PSMJ Resources, Inc.


In the just-released A/E Strategic Planning Study: Best Practices in Strategic Planning for A/E Firms, PSMJ presents the results of a study recently conducted with 184 architecture and engineering firms in 2020 and 75 firms in 2012 on how they conduct strategic planning. 

In this report, we compare this year’s results with those from 2012 and provide you with some information on what we have gleaned from the survey.  For instance, the study finds that twice as many firms responded to the 2020 survey than in 2012, indicating increased interest in this topic. However, there appears to be a decline in the number of firms doing strategic planning, which may be a hangover from the last recession in which long-term planning for many firms meant figuring out how to meet the next payroll.

In fact, study data shows that in 2020, for example, 23 percent of firms report that they have never had a strategic planning retreat, up from eight percent in 2012 (see chart below). Good news is that even as numbers have dropped, the largest percentage of firms in 2020 (40 percent) and 2012 (45 percent) report that they have formal strategic planning retreats every year or more. 

In addition, we have mined the data to figure out what works and what doesn’t work in strategic planning by correlating data on a variety of strategic planning practices with how they have contributed to a shared vision among firm leaders and if they have improved firm performance. 

One thing this report reveals is that firms that do strategic planning regularly have improved alignment among their senior leaders and have significantly improved their financial performance. As indicated in the charts below, firms reporting in 2020 and 2012 that they have formal strategic planning retreats every year or more achieve the highest rating in terms of alignment among their senior leaders and improvement in their financial performance.

And finally, beyond just providing data and research, we strive to provide action-oriented advice around what to do with this information. And so, we wrap up this report with eight specific recommendations based on how the most successful firms conduct strategic planning.

To our knowledge, with a diverse group of participants and rich analysis on A/E firm strategic planning practices,and the effectiveness of these practices, this is the most comprehensive research of its kind ever conducted in the A/E industry—certainly that has been conducted recently.



PSMJ's A/E Strategic Planning Study  is available for purchase or as a free download to PSMJ members.

Get A Copy Now!



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