This case study describes how the Ministry of Works (MoW) in Bahrain has created a world-class strategy map as part of their award-winning business performance management approach. The case study should make interesting reading for any organisation – be it in the not-for-profit or commercial sector.
The Ministry of Works in Bahrain
The Kingdom of Bahrain is a very ambitious island state with one of the fastest growing financial centres and many big construction and infrastructure projects such as the Friendship Bridge that will link Bahrain with Qatar, which will be the longest fixed link in the world.
The MoW will play a major part in the development of Bahrain. It is responsible for the construction, roads and sanitary engineering sectors, and therefore the major portion of the nation's public works sector and capital asset formation. It employs about 1600 staff. In order to manage the performance and align everyone with the strategic direction of the organisation, it embarked on a business performance management journey that started with the creation of a strategy map.
The process to create a strategy map
The process started by mapping the MoW’s own strategy against the vision for the country. “We held Open Space/Knowledge Café style sessions with over 200 key staff where we explored and discussed how our present strategies, as described through the Balanced Scorecard [see below], aligned to the Bahrain National Vision and what we needed to do to strengthen the alignment," explains Raja Al Zayani, Chief of the Strategic Planning and Quality Management Section, which serves as the MoW’s Office of Strategy Management. "The sessions in many ways validated our existing work as we discovered that our strategies already embodied a high degree of alignment with the national goals.”
Four strategic themes
Four strategic themes were identified and cross-functional teams of managers were organized into four teams that would build sections of the strategy map according to the strategic themes. A workshop was then held to integrate the themes within a draft strategy map. Following further refinements the corporate level map was approved.
The benefit of buy-in and consensus
Raja stresses the value of taking the time to ensure that consensus was reached as to the key corporate scorecard objectives. "This was quite challenging as people had different views of strategic priorities," she says. "But once consensus was reached greater buy-in and commitment was achieved and it became much easier to agree on measures, targets and initiatives."
The corporate strategy map
The 2007 MoW corporate level strategy map that resulted contained 14 strategic objectives from the four perspectives of learning and growth, internal process, customer and stakeholder (the latter essentially represents the financial or shareholder perspective that would be found in a scorecard for a commercial organization, but allows for a broader interpretation of stakeholder value than just financial) (see Figure below).
- Involve people in the design of strategy maps to ensure buy-in
- Make sure the strategy maps are aligned with the strategic objectives (in this case department, corporate, national)
- Assign clear accountability for the delivery of strategic objectives
- Keep the strategy maps relevant by revising them regularly
Marr, B., and Creelman, J .(2010) Creating and Implementing a Balanced Scorecard: The Case of the Ministry of Works - Bahrain, Management Case Study, The Advanced Performance Institute.
Since Bernard Marr wrote this article, further research has been carried out into strategy maps.
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- 03 Jan 2013 (12: 00 AM GMT)
- First published
- 05 Apr 2022 (12: 00 AM BST)
- Page updated with Latest research, adding related articles on strategy. These new resources provide fresh insights, case studies and perspectives on this topic. Please note that the original article from 2013 has not undergone any review or updates.