How Visualization Tools Help to Build Strategic Plans

In modern product management world, you may find a lot of smart mapping and visualization tools that can help to build your strategic plans.

These tools help to systemize and track ideas, steps, and resources and also enable you to see and address potential problems and opportunities.

The author of Mindjet blog lists 5 visualization models for strategic planning that can help product managers to streamline and improve their processes. Let’s highlight the main ideas from the article:


The model helps to identify internal strengths and weaknesses of an organization, as well external opportunities and risks.

The acronym helps you strategize four things about your company or product:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

It helps you examine your strengths and weaknesses in relation to your competition, so you can determine your key selling features.


PEST will help you to analyze political, tech, social and economic factors to help guide the strategic planning and decision-making.

PEST is valuable when used in conjunction with tools that analyze threats and opportunities, such as SWOT, as it helps you think of external factors you may not otherwise think of.

A traditional PEST template is divided into sections of lists, which can soon be crowded and make it hard to see the forest for the trees.


DESTEP is an acronym that consists of demographic, economic, social, technological, ecological and political parts.

DESTEP may assist companies to compare different locations to build a new store. A traditional DESTEP template is quite simple to create but lacks the ability to help team members see the factors in context or how they fit together within a strategic plan.

Porter’s Five Forces

The approach was created as a way to help companies to be aware of five forces in the competitive environment that could threaten their bottom line.

These include competitive rivalry, supplier power, buyer power, a threat of substitution and threat of new entry. Similar to the DESTEP template, a Five Forces tool can quickly become a field of seemingly disjointed lists.

Cost-benefit Analysis

A cost-benefit analysis weighs the benefits against the costs of a project or a business decision, to help determine whether a company should proceed or consider alternative options. It’s essential for figuring out budgets, required resources, and timelines in strategic planning, and helps provide objectives and metrics to determine success.

The three main steps in a cost-benefit analysis include identifying costs; identifying benefits; and comparing costs and benefits. That sounds simple until you consider how many costs and benefits can be involved in even a smaller project. Traditional templates can fail to capture important values that either can’t be quantified or are hard to forecast, such as increased customer loyalty.

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