Strategic Planning in a Dynamic Operating Environment


Washington State's Snohomish County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. To fulfill its commitment of service to this growing community, the Public Works Department needed to develop and implement a five-year strategic plan that would be adaptable within a dynamic operating environment. 


We combined the strategy development best practices of visioning and backcasting with the planning best practices of balanced scorecard and work plan development. Integrated within these tools and techniques were periodic continuous improvement reviews performed by a certified Lean Six-Sigma expert.

The project began with a focus on updating vision and mission and identifying top business priorities for the coming five years. With these strategic markers established, a series of planning workshops were facilitated across divisional leadership teams. The workshops resulted in a collection of strategic goals in each division, aligned to the five-year vision and operating priorities.

The aggregation of tools and techniques used for visioning, backcasting and a balanced scorecard evaluation, combined with facilitated sessions designed to produce decisions and content in limited timeframes, supported an effective planning process that was tailored to the client’s culture and objectives.


The Public Works Department aligned every work group within each of its three divisions to the new five-year plan, with everyone working toward the same long-term outcomes.

Now in its second year, implementation of the five-year strategic plan has been streamlined by the final plan’s clear strategy and underlying implementation and oversite plan, which is based on detailed work plans that include activities, key objectives, performance metrics, implementation schedule and periodic reviews.

Mid-year progress reports are combined with an annual reporting, evaluation and plan update process to evaluate progress and identify any necessary adjustments to each division’s activities, priorities and resources, and to identify obstacles and opportunities to accelerate or collaborate throughout the calendar year.


  • Strategic Planning
  • Organizational Development
  • Capacity Building
  • Project Management
  • Workshop Facilitation
  • Change Management
  • Graphic Design


Snohomish County


3 years


Project Lead:

Tashina Jirikovic Ask Me Questions