Thank You to Gartner for the Shout-Out!

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The photo was taken during Gartner VP Cathleen Blanton’s session on IT Governance at the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Orlando, Florida on October 20, 2019.

The quote on metrics ("If you don’t collect any metrics, you’re flying blind. If you collect and focus on too many, they may be obstructing your field of view.") is from
Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step InstructionsScott M. Graffius, Author; Chris Hare and Colin Giffen, Technical Editors.

The context of the presentation was on governance and decision-making. Cathleen conveyed that the idea for the slide pictured was that if you measure something that matters, you can use those metrics to drive better behavior through visibility and focus.


About Scott M. Graffius


Scott M. Graffius, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, PMP, ITIL, LSSGB is a project management expert, consultant, award-winning author, and international speaker. He is a Principal Consultant and the CEO of Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™, a professional services firm, where he helps clients strengthen their project management capabilities and realize their strategic objectives and business initiatives. Before that, he ran and supervised the delivery of projects and programs in public and private companies with businesses ranging from e-commerce to advanced technology, manufacturing, entertainment, and more. Scott is the author of two award-winning books on agile project management, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions (ISBN-13: 978-1533370242) and Agile Transformation: A Brief Story of How an Entertainment Company Developed New Capabilities and Unlocked Business Agility to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Change (ISBN-13: 978-1072447962). Scott's content has been used by businesses, governments, and universities—including Gartner, Cisco, RSA, Ford, LITE-ON Technology Corporation, Liberty Mutual Group, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, James Madison University, Santa Clara University, Brigham Young University, Texas A&M University, The Open University, and others. He regularly speaks at in-person and virtual online conferences and other events around the world. Additional information is available in Scott’s full bio at



About Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions


A fantastic agile transformation experience and result with a client organization in the entertainment industry was the inspiration for Scott M. Graffius’s multi award-winning book, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions (ISBN-13: 978-1533370242).

Here's an excerpt from the book: "Shifting customer needs are common in today's marketplace. Businesses must be adaptive and responsive to change while delivering an exceptional customer experience to be competitive. Traditional development and delivery frameworks such as waterfall are often ineffective. In contrast, Scrum is a value-driven agile approach which incorporates adjustments based on regular and repeated customer and stakeholder feedback. And Scrum’s built-in rapid response to change leads to substantial benefits such as fast time-to-market, higher satisfaction, and continuous improvement—which supports innovation and drives competitive advantage."

With clear and easy to follow instructions, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions helps you:

  • Implement and use the most popular agile framework―Scrum;
  • Deliver products in short cycles with rapid adaptation to change, fast time-to-market, and continuous improvement; and
  • Support innovation and drive competitive advantage.

Hailed by Literary Titan as “the book highlights the versatility of Scrum beautifully.”

Winner of 17 first place awards.

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions is available in paperback and ebook/Kindle in the United States and around the world. Some links by country follow. Get your copy today!

🇦🇺 Australia
🇦🇹 Austria
🇧🇪 Belgium
🇧🇷 Brazil
🇨🇦 Canada
🇨🇿 Czech Republic
🇩🇰 Denmark
🇫🇮 Finland
🇫🇷 France
🇩🇪 Germany
🇬🇷 Greece
🇭🇺 Hungary
🇮🇳 India
🇮🇪 Ireland
🇮🇱 Israel
🇮🇹 Italy
🇯🇵 Japan
🇱🇺 Luxembourg
🇲🇽 Mexico
🇳🇱 Netherlands
🇳🇿 New Zealand
🇳🇴 Norway
🇪🇸 Spain
🇸🇪 Sweden
🇨🇭 Switzerland
🇦🇪 UAE
🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇺🇸 United States

🌏 More countries


About Cathleen Blanton

Cathleen Blanton, Vice President at Gartner, is a member of their Public Sector Government team. She focuses on U.S. Federal agencies, covering strategic planning, governance, and ensuring IT enables businesses and mission value. Cathleen specializes in helping CIOs position themselves to partner with executive counterparts on the issues that help their organizations achieve outcomes in both efficiency and mission effectiveness. She takes an approach that is both pragmatic and tailored to organizations’ culture. For more information, visit


About Gartner IT SymposiumXpo

The Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo is billed as “the world's most important gathering of CIOs and IT executives.” The conference enables more than 9,000 attendees to shape the future of IT and business strategies. For details, visit


About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. They equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow. To learn more, visit


© Copyright 2020 Scott M. Graffius. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written permission of Scott M. Graffius.

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Four Ways to Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills Today


Strategic thinking is often considered essential to an organization's successful performance. Some have even advocated for companies to develop the strategic thinking skills of their executives and other staff as a core competency. How can strategic thinking skills be developed? But first, here's a definition.

“Strategic thinking is a distinctive management activity whose purpose is to discover novel, imaginative strategies which can rewrite the rules of the competitive game; and to envision potential futures significantly different from the present. Furthermore, strategic thinking is specified as being conceptual, systems-oriented, directional (linking the future with the past), and opportunistic.”
— Ellen F. Goldman

In other words, strategic thinking is a process used to broaden an individual's perspective to achieve successful outcomes such as competitive advantage. And it can happen at every level of the organization; it's not just for executives.

Here are four specific things you can do to improve your strategic thinking skills.

1. Schedule Time for Strategic Thinking

You are investing in your success as well as that of the organization. Find the time to focus on strategic thinking. A tip is to place a recurring event on your calendar to reserve time for strategic thinking activities.

2. Monitor the Big Picture Including Trends

The default focus at most organizations is on what’s directly ahead. However, "peripheral vision"—including keeping sight of the big picture and industry trends—is essential for long-term success. Some tips follow. Keep abreast of industry organizations and publications. Build external networks to help you best scan the competitive landscape. Determine the unique perspective that your role provides, and define its favorable impact on the organization’s vision, mission, and/or strategic objectives.

3. Ask Questions to Uncover Patterns

Further to your mindfulness of the big picture and understanding of changes in the industry, you can put strategic thinking to work by asking yourself and others questions. A few examples follow. "What if _____?" questions are frequently effective in helping one "see around the corner." And variations such as "If _____, then _____?" often yield insights as well.

4. Embrace Uncertainty and Conflict

Strategic thinking involves envisioning the future and potential proactive ways the organization can change to remain competitive and successful. You should accept that the future is uncertain, and challenging assumptions by asking questions and other tactics may make some people uncomfortable. Remaining mindful of those aspects will help you stay the course in regularly practicing strategic thinking and securing the benefits summarized in this article.


By sharpening your strategic thinking skills, you benefit both yourself and your organization. It helps you make a greater contribution to the business—which may also support your advancement—and it helps the company enjoy greater competitive advantage and long-term success. So, start work on your strategic thinking skills today!



Atsmon, Yuval (2017, May 2). How to Unleash Your Strategic Thinking. Digital article. McKinsey & Company.

Bonn, Ingrid (2005, June). Improving Strategic Thinking: A Multilevel Approach.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26 (5). DOI: 10.1108/01437730510607844.

Cowan, N. (2001, February). The Magical Number 4 in Short-Term Memory: A Reconsideration of Mental Storage Capacity.
Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24 (1): 87-119.

Dixit, Avinash K. and Nelebuff, Barry J. (1993).
Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Goldman, Ellen F. (2007, Summer). Strategic Thinking at the Top.
MIT Sloan Management Review, 48 (4): 75-81.

Graffius, Scott M. (2016).
Thinking Strategically and Acting Tactically. Winnetka, CA: Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions.

Reynolds, K. (2013). Strategic Thinking for Today's Project Managers. Paper presented at PMI Global Congress 2013—North America, New Orleans, LA. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Syrett, Michael and Devine, Marion (2012).
Managing Uncertainty: Strategies for Surviving and Thriving in Turbulent Times. London, United Kingdom: Profile Books.


About the Author


Scott M. Graffius is an agile project management consultant, practitioner, award-winning author, and keynote speaker. Content from his books, speaking engagements, and more has been used by businesses, governments, and universities, including Gartner, Cisco, RSA, Ford, Qantas, Atlassian, Bayer, the United States Department of Energy, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, Tufts University, Texas A&M, and others. Thinkers360 named Scott a Top 20 Global Thought Leader and Influencer. His full-length bio is available at:

Connect with Scott on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


The short link for this article is
This article was first published here. Later—on August 24, 2021—the article was posted to LinkedIn
here as well.


© Copyright 2020 Scott M. Graffius. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written permission of Scott M. Graffius.

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