Wargaming as a Strategy Tool


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Wargaming as a strategy tool (or War Games or War Gaming) is a specialized technique used in the corporate strategic planning context, particularly scenario analysis and a path forward in light of competitive dynamics.

Wargaming, as the name suggests originated in the military context for playing the war and conflict scenarios. However, what we are concerned in this product is Wargaming as it pertains to the business context.

Wargaming is a simulation of moves and countermoves, within a business setting, to incorporate the competitors into a dynamic market, to plan a future strategy. Seldom can a company do something and not expect a counter move from them in return. For example, a price will result in a similar move resulting in potential margin erosion.

Peter Perla, the author of a book on the Wargaming topic, defines Wargaming as, “A warfare model or simulation that does not involve the operation of actual forces, and in which the flow of events is shaped by decisions made by a human player or players.”

Stratrix Wargaming deliverable is an overview of the wargaming technique and an outline of a workshop to facilitate the Wargaming exercise. It is NOT an academic article, but a guide to conduct a productive simulation session to derive right outcomes.

When is Wargaming useful in a business context and strategic planning?

Uncertain and Changing Environment:

  • Evolving competitive landscape (e.g., M&A, globalization, threat from emerging players)
  • Changing regulations
  • Rapid technological advancements
  • Fundamental market structure shifts (e.g., major pricing changes)

Diverging Paths or Multiple Options:

  • Same activities could be started now or later without clarity for the best timing
  • 2 or more platform options to achieve the same goal

Lack of consensus on the right approach and priorities:

  • Answers dependent on perspective priorities or difficult to test assumptions

How to conduct a Wargaming workshop:

Strategic clarification & alignment using wargaming

Wargaming provides the groundwork to

—Understand the vision & what success would look like

—Document strategic options

—Assess where stakeholders stand

—Prep for workshop/brainstorming

Wargaming to “play out” various scenarios & environmental shifts

—“What if” analysis

—Role-playing workshops or “different hats” brainstorming to assess how competitors, customers, etc. would react to various market shifts

—“What you would have to believe” analyses where facts are lacking for decision making

Codify & clarify lessons learned

Wargaming Desired Outcomes:

A. Clarification of the vision & success metrics

B. Identification of new/refined opportunities & potential risks

C. Improved understanding of key strategic choices & levers

D. Increased understanding & alignment of stakeholders

E. Playbook, including no-regret moves, decision points, and trigger conditions

F. Capability identification & prioritization

G.Capability evolution roadmap

What does the Stratrix Wargaming as a Strategy Tool deliverable include?

Stratrix Wargaming as a Strategy Tool is a PowerPoint deliverable with an outline of what Wargaming is all about, specifics about how to prepare the groundwork, how to conduct the workshop and create an actionable roadmap.





Wargaming as a Strategy Tool


Licensing Options
Product FAQs