A good strategy provides a clear direction and goals for a growth-seeking company. When the pace is fast, it can be challenging to break down the goals and maintain focus.
The Must Win Battle (MWB) model is one method for prioritizing and tracking the most important growth-enhancing actions. The MWB model is based on the idea that in each growth stage there are “vital battles” or projects that the company must win to stay viable.
The MWB model’s appeal stems from its simplicity: MWBs are relatively easy to identify and record from strategy. In this text, we describe what a good Must Win Battle looks like and how to build one.
The Must Win Battle model is a tool for achieving strategic goals
The Must Win Battle model is an effective tool for startups looking to grow quickly and efficiently. It ensures that the company focuses on the most important things and stays on track with its objectives.
The basic goal of the MWB model is to make it clear what is intended to be achieved, by when, and why. At its best, the model provides the organization with a structured way of acting and implementing the strategy systematically.
Here’s how to form a development project using the Must Win Battle model:
1. Define clear growth goals and set metrics for them.
2. Recognize the critical factors that will determine the company’s success.
3. Prioritize the actions and resources needed to achieve the goals.
4. Give each battle a clear owner and assign tasks to specific individuals.
5. Carry out planned actions and evaluate results on a regular basis, e.g. biweekly.
What does a good MWB look like?
In their book Must-win-battles: how to win them, again and again Killing, Malnight, and Keys (2006) mention five characteristics that should be identified in each MWB:
• Genuinely transformational
• Precise and concrete
To keep yourself motivated, you might wish to finalize your battles with these traits in mind.
How to succeed in implementation?
Prioritization is at the heart of success. Often, there are more projects than the resources needed to carry them out. According to conventional wisdom, the MWB portfolio should contain no more than a handful of battles, and our experience suggests that 3-5 “battles” is a suitable amount.
Another critical factor is trackability. We don’t believe a company can have a MWB that cannot be verified in implementation because it does not meet any of the excitement or precision criteria mentioned above.
The most important thing at the architectural level is to ensure that the projects and actions to be implemented are linked to the company’s overall strategy.