Strategy Markup Language (StratML)
A Worldwide Web of Intentions, Stakeholders, and Results
Strategy Markup Language (StratML) Part 1 is an XML
vocabulary and schema for strategic plans. Its purposes include:
- Facilitate the sharing, referencing, indexing, discovery, linking, reuse,
and analyses of the elements of strategic plans, including goal and
objective statements as well as the names and descriptions of
stakeholder groups and any other content commonly included in strategic
- Enable the concept of "strategic alignment" to be realized in
literal linkages among goal and objective statements and all other
records created by organizations in the routine course of their
- Facilitate the discovery of potential performance partners
who share common or complementary objectives.
- Facilitate stakeholder engagement, input, and feedback on strategic goals and objectives.
- Facilitate updating and maintenance of discrete elements of
strategic plans without requiring review and approval of the entire
plan through bureaucratic channels, thereby helping to make the
strategic planning process more agile and responsive to stakeholder
feedback and changing circumstances, thus helping to overcome the
tendency of strategic plans to become outdated "shelfware".
- Reduce the needless time, effort, inconsistencies, and delays
associated with maintaining data redundantly in myriad "stovepipe"
systems rather than referencing the authoritative sources.
- Enable U.S. federal agencies to comply with the provisions of subsections
202(b)(4) & (5)
of the eGov Act, which respectively require them to:
- Work together to link their performance goals to key groups, including citizens,
businesses, and other governments, as well as internal Federal Government operations; and
- Adopt open standards (e.g., StratML) enabling the organization and categorization
of Government information in a way that is searchable electronically and interoperably
Enable all organizations, worldwide, to apply those good practices.
On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed H.R. 2142, the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA), into law as P.L. 111-352. Section 2 requires agencies to publish their strategic plans on their websites and section 10 requires them to publish their strategic and performance plans and reports in searchable, machine-readable format. StratML is such a format.
On January 14, 2019, President Trump signed into law the OPEN Government Data Act (OGDA) extending to all Federal records the requirement to make them open, machine-readable, and compliant with standardized schemas by default.
StratML Part 2 extends Part 1 to include the basic, minumum additional elements required for performance plans and reports, including stakeholder roles and performance indicators, in order to:
Build upon Part 1 to enable the documentation of value chains leading to the realization of strategic goals and objectives, including desired outcomes as well as the inputs, processes, and outputs required to achieve them.
Facilitate the identification of inputs and processes needed to produce planned outputs and desired outcomes.
Enable the documentation and reporting of metrics associated with target and actual levels of inputs, processes, outputs, and outcomes.
Facilitate the sharing, referencing, indexing, discovery, linking, reuse, and analyses of the elements of performance plans and reports.
Facilitate the tracking of actual results as compared to planned, target results in terms of usage of inputs, performance of processes, production of outputs, and realization of outcomes.
Facilitate stakeholder feedback on the usages of inputs, production of outputs, and realization of outcomes affecting them.
Enable value-added intermediaries to provide tools, products, and services supporting each of these purposes for the benefit of myriad communities of interest (stakeholder groups).
StratML Part 3 specifies additional elements addressing the data requirements implicit in GPRAMA as well as additional purposes.
CURRENT WORK & RESULTS
On November 2 Owen Ambur spoke briefly during the Data Coalition | Data Foundation online forum concerning Federal Data Strategy priorities for 2021. His talking points are available here and his oral remarks begin at the 3:16 minute of the audio/video recording.
StratML Committee Performance Plan for 2020 (SMLC2020) - PDF
Draft listings of:
StratML Glossary compiled by Owen Ambur using this XSD and stylesheet - Note the glossary is for informative purposes only.
The authoritative names and defintions of the elements are contained in the schemas themselves and are available in the documentation for
Part 1, Part 2 &
StratML Part 1, Strategic Plans
StratML Part 1, Strategic Plans, was published as an international standard (ISO 17469-1) on February 11, 2015, and is available for purchase from ANSI. The schema itself is freely available for usage by anyone who cares to do so:
StratML Part 2, Performance Plans & Reports
Pending recruitment of enough nations to work on international standardization of Part 2, Performance Plans and Reports, in the ISO processes, revisions were moved through the ANSI process.
On January 19, 2017, ANSI approved revisions harmonizing Part 2 (ANSI/AIIM 22:2017) with the relatively minor changes made in Part 1 in the ISO process.
StratML Part 3, Additional Elements
StratML Part 3, Additional Elements, was approved and published as an AIIM best practice (AIIM_BP_24-2014).
Schema for StratML Part 3, August 21, 2014
Screen shots showing how the Part 3 schema appears in an InfoPath form, November 23, 2012
Data dictionary for Part 3 compiled on November 4, 2012 - PDF | DOCX (Word)
The data requirements implicit in the GPRA Modernization Act (GPRAMA) are a central focus of Part 3.
Proposed mapping of OMB Circular A-11, Section 210, guidance to the elements of StratML Part 3
Proposed mapping of the elements of the Performance Data Standard (PDS) for the Performance.gov site to StratML Part 3.
This rendition of GPRAMA, dated February 7, 2012, contains selected screen shots from an InfoPath form showing how requirements of the Act might be met in the strawman draft schema for Part 3 - HTML | PDF
On August 15, 2017, Owen Ambur made draft revisions to the schema for Part 3 to harmonize with changes made to Part 2 in the ANSI process.
On December 12, 2017, Owen generated documentation of the revised draft schema and posted it here.
During the development, piloting, proof-of-concept phase, more than 4,000 plans have been rendered in StratML format, using the following authoring/editing tools:
In 2018 Ibrahim Shah updated Joe Carmel's Part 2 form for hosting on the stratml.us site at http://stratml.us/forms/Part2Form.xml to accommodate changes made in ANSI/AIIM 22:2017.
Andre Cusson of 01 Communications developed an XForms form for StratML Part 2, Performance Plans & Reports.
This URL can be used to automatically open StratML files for editing in Part 2, Performance Plan/Report, format: http://stratml.us/forms/walt5.pl?url=URL_of_the_file
Jorge Sanchez provided a rendition of the StratML Part 2 form with the capability to translate the field labels from English to Spanish.
Since Joe Carmel abandoned his legisworks.org domain, his XForms are no longer available in that domain.
oXygen XML Author supports StratML Parts 1 & 2 and provides templates.
Andre's form was derived from but extends Joe's original form. It was disabled by a Java security update.
Alejandro Revuelta and his colleagues on the Ximdex team have developed a forms-based interface enabling
users to author and edit StratML files in Ximdex-CMS.
Microsoft InfoPath forms for StratML Part 1, Strategic Plans & Part 2, Performance Plans and Reports
A form-based user interface for StratML Part 2 is available in oXygen.
ESRI's StratML catalog, formerly available at https://gptogc.esri.com/stratml, included a forms-based interface enabling registered users to draft and edit StratML files in Part 1 & 2 format.
Business Web Software's (now Firmstep) AchieveForms form on their demonstration site seems to have been taken down.
PDF Fillable form for Part 1 developed by Ed Chase. It no longer loads in a browser but can be downloaded and used in Adobe Acrobat.
For those who do not have InfoPath, screen shots of those forms are available in PDF -
Part 1 & Part 2 & HTML.
Owen Ambur has created a prototypical InfoPath form for StratML Part 3, Additional Elements, that can be used as a reference implementation.
For those who do not have InfoPath, screen shots of the Part 3 form, as of November 16, 2012, are available in PDF.
Note: Although Microsoft has pledged to maintain support through 2023, further development of InfoPath has been terminated with the 2013 release. For further information, see this discussion thread on LinkedIn.
Xopus provided a form for Part 1 in Spanish as well as English. However, Xopus was acquired by SDL and apparently no longer supports the StratML standard.
Ictect is updating their StratML plug-in for Microsoft Word.
In August 2016, Virginia Gavin of Appligent expressed interest in updating Ed's form to conform to the ISO 17469-1 version of the schema.
When he was with Adobe, Duane Nickull expressed his intent to develop a PDF Fillable form for StratML Part 2.
The most current and complete listing of plans in the StratML collection is available at ../drybridge/index.htm.
SEARCH & OTHER PROTOTYPICAL SERVICES
Since StratML documents are plain text (XML) documents posted on the public Web, they are readily available for indexing by the search engines, like Google, albeit on an uncertain schedule. Thus, the major search engine indices may not contain the most recent submissions.
Jorge Sanchez of Vionta is developing a StratML portal running on BaseX. It is still a work in progress but here are some screen shots
StratNavApp -- Chris Fox enabled his StratNavApp (formerly StrategicLearning Application) to produce valid StratML output. It is free to sign up and Chris invites you to try it out.
Plans that are open to the public in his application are available at https://www.stratnavapp.com/Project/PublicStratMLList
By providing their URLs, registered users can import StratML files into the app by clicking on the blue Import circle (adjacent to the + circle) in the upper left-hand corner of the Projects page.
He and Owen are interested in exploring prospects for using his application to crowdsource the drafting of a plan entitled Best Practices for Business-Quality Communications: Moving to a Higher Level of Maturity than E-mail. Here is a first draft in StratML Part 1 format: Plain XML Text | Styled. The draft is also available for crowdsourcing on Chris' site. If you'd like to participate in editing and improving it, please ask Chris or Owen for an invitation to join us in working on the plan.
In an article entitled "Strategy by the Numbers," Chris has documented metrics highlighting the need for improvement in how organizations formulate and implement strategic plans.
Metaformix -- John Barker of Metaformix Information Systems has demonstrated how StratML files can automatically be rendered in PDF and ePub format, using TopLeaf XML Publisher from Turn-Key Systems (Australia), with the Meridian International Center's who-we-are statement as an example - PDF | ePub. Additional examples rendered in PDF include:
Unless a browser plug-in is installed, the ePub rendition must be downloaded and opened in an ePub reader. John suggests using
The TopLeaf StratML stylesheets are available from John as-is at no charge.
Ximdex -- Alejandro Revuelta and his Ximdex colleagues imported many of the files in the StratML collection into their StratML query service prototype. See also their StratML authoring/editing form. They have invited feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ictect -- Pradeep Jain of Ictect expressed interest in updating his StratML plug-in for MS Word to take into account upgrades to Word and revisions to the StratML schema. Besides U.S. federal agencies, who are required by law to publish their plans and reports in machine-readable format, other potential customers include the millions of tax-exempt organizations required to file Form 990 with IRS. Pradeep believes his technology might be well suited to transforming the relevent elements of the 990 database to StratML format in the context of a template the organizations could use to flesh out their goals, objectives, and stakeholders in Word.
StratML Tagging with Microsoft Word: Quick Start Guide, Pradeep Jain & Vivian Dey, September 25, 2009 - DOC | PDF
A Strategic Communications Plan converted to StratML format by Owen Ambur on December 22, 2009, using MS Word with the assistance of the Quick Start Guide. Since the purpose of the exercise was to test the Guide and not to produce a "pretty" document, it was not edited for appearance, to include all of the elements of the StratML core, or to remove verbiage that does not fit neatly into the elements of a StratML document. However, Owen subsequently used Joe Carmel's XForms form to do so in Plain XML text & with Styling
Screen shot of Ictect's StratML plug-in for MS Word demonstrated by Pradeep Jain on the January 15, 2015, StratML Committee tele/video conference
01 Communications -- While it has not been updated in recent years, Andre Cusson of 01Communications developed a StratML portal, including a highly informative statistics page and hyperlinked listings of goals, objectives, stakeholders & values
He also provided a stylesheet that works with both StratML Part 1 and Part 2 files.
He developed an XForms form for StratML Part 2. Clicking on the button at the top toggled from a StratML Part 1, Strategic Plan, form to a Part 2, Performance Plan or Report, form and vice versa. The Part 2 form displayed the Stakeholder Role and Performance Indicator elements, whereas the Part 1 form did not. See his documentation of his XForms efforts and particularly the documentation for his Part 2 form. However, his form was disabled by a Java security update.
See also his draft MS Word template for StratML Part 2.
For information on his StratML-related efforts, see this page on his DNAOS site.
Joe Carmel -- Joe Carmel's StratML Catalog uses AJAX to index files in the StratML sitemap listing by Internet domain, provide a count of StratML files, and identify those lacking sources as well as those whose URLs are incorrect in the listing. The most recent update is available on the StratML.us site.
Joe has retired the following demos:
- Sortable tabular listings of goals, values and stakeholdersidentified in plans in the StratML collection. The column headings could be clicked to sort in ascending or descending alphabetical order. Note: Subsections 202(b)(4) & (5) of the eGov Act require agencies to work together to link their performance goals to key groups and use information technology in delivering government information and services to those groups.
Atom Protocol demos displaying the <Mission> and <Vision> statements and showing how many times each <Stakeholder> and <Value> has been expressed by various kinds of organizations whose plans have been included in the StratML collection. (Best viewed in MSIE 7 or higher. Values are distinguished from Stakeholders by hyphens.) Note: While these demos are no longer available, this screen shot shows how the first one (for Federal agencies) appeared.
U.S. Federal Agencies
State & Local Agencies
International Government Agencies
JXMLDatasets tabular display of StratML documents to which additional documents could be added by using the Submit Query field. Clicking on the File Name links displayed the tabular XML Sets view of each plan
XForm form for the ISO 17469-1 version of StratML Part 1, Strategic Plans
Atom-enabled listing of StratML files by Wikipedia topics
XSL Appliance Tool for the Web using Christopher Maden's stylesheet.
Old ANSI/AIIM 21:2009 version of Joe's form for StratML Part 1
About StratML XForms page.
StratML.services -- Jason Lind planned to make StratML.services the most extensive platform for delivery of modeling analytics on StratML while simultaneously acting as a store for public StratML data, delivered through a syndicated API to existing and future consumers. However, he apparently has abandoned that effort.
He welcomed feedback on his a prototypical StratML search service enabling selective queries of the elements of StratML Part 1. Again, however, his prototype has apparently been taken down.
He also expressed interest in transforming into StratML Part 2 format IRS Form 990 data for tax-exempt organizations. He has created a queue for the data and Owen Ambur has drafted a proposed mapping of the data to StratML. Jason developed an architecture in GitHub to deal with the relatively high through put (over 1.2M against AWS Form 990 Data):
RUSTPrivacy -- Gannon Dick of RUSTPrivacy.org converted the relevant information in the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) database to StratML format. See the home page he has compiled for his related efforts. He is demonstrating:
See also Gannon's Brief Tour of XML Technology For Emergency Management (EM).
Datatype validation of StratML Part 1 & 2 files.
LOC MODS citation based upon the selection of Agency and Committee. View Source to see the XML; uses the MODS HTML stylesheet.
A word cloud of declared topical interests for each committee, as well as a listing of "corresponding" agencies and committees with the same interests (LCSH).
A browse interface to listings of the members of each committee, ordered by sponsoring agency.
An alternative browse interface to the agency stategic goals documented on the Performance.gov site
A service that generates performance reporting timelines in StratML Part 2, Performance Plan, format, i.e., a model performance timeline plan for issuance of performance reports.
oXygen -- Support for the StratML standard was provided in oXygen XML Editor version 14.0.
StratML framework available as open source project on GitHub
The framework was made available in a forms-based UI in oXygen 15.1
In May 2015 oXygen 17 was the first commercially released product supporting the international version of the standard (ISO 17469-1)
ESRI -- Marten Hogeweg set up a publicly accessible catalog based on ESRI's open source Geoportal Server with the StratML Part 1 and Part 2 configured and a couple plans preloaded.
MarkLogic -- MarkLogic's StratML search service prototype contained all of the plans in the collection as of February 8, 2010. It was developed by Shashi Mudunuri prior to finalization of Part 1 of the StratML standard. Shashi subsequently left MarkLogic and his prototype was not maintained. Jay Fohs and Sara Mazer of MarkLogic started to redevelop it with the latest versions of the files currently in the collection. The new prototype was to have been demonstrated by Jay and Andy Obermayer at the CIO Council's PlanningPlus seminar on November 15, 2012. However, the CIOC was reorganized and the PlanningPlus seminar series was discontinued. Images showing what the previous version of MarkLogic's application looked like are available on slides 40 & 41 of the presentation Owen prepared for the Strategic Planning Innovation Conference. Those screen shots are also available by themselves in HTML format.
eXist Solutions -- Lars Windauer of eXist Solutions expressed the view that enabling queries of the StratML collection would be a good use case for the eXist database but the cost may be more than anyone is willing to pay.
Patrick Durusau -- Patrick Durusau expressed intent to look into prospects for applying XQuery capabilities to the StratML collection.
Sonra -- StratML is among the XML standards cited by Anvesh Gali in his article on visualising XMLs and XSDs using Sonra's Flexter. Uli Bethke expressed his intent to explore prospects for having an intern load the StratML collection into Elasticsearch or Solr to provide native XML database query services.
Uberity -- Matt MacKenzie and Duane Nickull of Uberity quickly developed and briefly hosted a JSON/MongoDB-based StratML indexing/browsing/query service at http://uberity.com/.
CivicOS -- Dmytro Potekhin expressed intent to build support for the StratML standard into a future release of CivicOS.
Quark -- Dave White expressed interest in providing support for StratML in Quark's XML Author for MS Word
Mercenary Team -- Matthew Jackson of the Mercenary Team expressed intent to explore prospects for engaging a freelancer to transform the relevant elements from the IRS Form 990 database into StratML Part 2 performance plan/report format for tax-exempt organizations.
Stratbase -- Stratbase, a startup out of the Iowa Startup Accelerator, developed an online strategic planning and implementation tool for teams. Dave Shafer advised that plans created using Stratbase are compatible with StratML Part 1 and will support XML import/export, hosting public plans, cross-linking between plans, cascading goals, and many other features described in the StratML purposes, as well as support for StratML Parts 2 and 3.
Drupal -- Rob Green worked to configure Drupal's "Export to XML" module to output valid StratML, in support of Cedar Falls, Iowa. His initial XML output was available at http://www.cfstrategicplan.org/stratml and the plan is avaiable in StratML format.
SchellingPoint -- Michael Taylor of SchellingPoint expressed intent to enable his Alignment Optimization software to output data in StratML format for editing in Microsoft Word. Here's his blog on the use of StratML for higher-quality strategies.
Strategi Consulting -- Ari Knausenberger of Strategi Consulting developed a StratML parsing demonstration and produced a tag cloud for the top 50 most frequently used <Goal> <Names>. The strategic plans in which each of those goal names occur could be retrieved by clicking on the tag name. The most frequently occurring goal name was Education. The second most frequently used goal name was Advocacy, followed by Leadership, Membership, Infrastructure, Collaboration, Partnerships, Representation, Communication, and Research, rounding out the top ten. While the demo has been retired, a screen shot remains available.
FREME -- Felix Sasaki, coordinator of the FREME project, added StratML to the types of files that can be enriched with linked data tags at http://fsasaki.github.io/stuff/feisgiltt2016/ and demonstrated semantic enrichment of the content of the Description elements of the U.S. Open Data Action Plan (ODAP).
XML Simplicity -- XML Simplicity's editorial portal enabled online editing of StratML documents using Authentic. Here is a brief description provided by Keith Matthew:
XML Simplicity's (subsequently Computer Composition of Canada, Inc.) StratML service provided powerful, yet easy-to-use, collection browsing and filtering of StratML documents. Users had complete control over collection display settings, such as sorting, grouping, highlighting, charting, downloading, column selection, etc. Documents were available for fast dynamic download in XML, PDF, RTF, and HTML formats. Editing of the StratML XML documents was available in either an offline or online word-processor like interface ensuring consistent and correct XML source data.
Unfortunately, the portal is no longer online but here is an example of a PDF rendition of this StratML file - Plain XML text | Styled.
Farsi -- Pooyan Zamanian's StratML authoring, editing, and transformation portal, which is available in Farsi and English, enables the creation of strategic plans and the conversion of the "raw" (plain text XML) StratML files to XHTML using XSLT. After entering the portal with the "guest" username and password (54321), users who have Microsoft's InfoPath forms application can download the form from the Strategic Plans page, enter the data, and upload the plan. (Plans that have been previously uploaded will also be available for editing and re-uploading.) After uploading, the user is re-directed to result page to view the transformed plan as it appears in XHML format on the Web. Click here to see a screen shot of Pooyan's portal.
Crane Softwrights -- Ken Holman of Crane Softwrights compiled HTML and PDF stylesheets for StratML documents but
they were based upon a previous version of the schema that was supplanted by ANSI/AIIM 21:2009
NIST -- On December 1, 2006, NIST created an XML Instance Validation service to enable remote validation of files against schemas, including the StratML schema. KC Morris announced the service on the XML CoP's listserv hosted by GSA. See NIST XML Schema Validation Updates page.
Vision4Standards -- NIEM mapping spreadsheet compiled by Allyson Ugarte and Sylvia Webb
Liquid Technologies -- Liquid Technologies' Liquid XML Studio 2010 is an XML developers toolkit and IDE containing tools for designing and developing XML Schema and applications, with support for StratML and other public standards.
See especially their documentation of the schema for StratML Part 1
Datypic -- The schema for StratML Part 1, Strategic Plans, was included in Schema Central by Priscilla Walmsley of Datypic.com.
Politics -- Owen Ambur is promoting the notion that political parties and candidates for elective office should be expected (by their constituencies) to post their platforms on the Web in StratML format. To prove the concept, he has begun posting the party platforms and candidate issue statements on his personal Web site.
UBMatrix -- On September 12, 2013, Frederick Chapus of the UBMatrix division of Edgar Online, an RR Donnelly company, rendered the StratML Part 1 schema as an XBRL taxonomy. See also his PowerPoint presentation.
Alex Rollin -- Alex Rollin's StratML for Production Groups description (formerly Community Intelligence with StratML project wiki).
Thomas von der Elbe -- Thomas von der Elbe's free-range voting demo using StratML to enable voting on the elements of a plan to form a non-profit organization.
Alex Glaros -- Alex Glaros' Nationwide Citizen General Suggestion Management prototype application project. See also Alex's site for the Center for Government Interoperability (CGI).
Progress Software -- Ivan Pedruzzi of Progress Software uploaded the StratML schema into the Stylus Studio online catalog for access in Stylus Studio via File -> Document Wizards.. -> XML editor -> User Defined Catalog. A tutorial is available showing how to create PDF forms from schemas using Stylus Studio.
William Charlton -- William Charlton expressed interest in developing a "test bed for evaluating StratML as a mechanism for coordinating, recording and reporting relief operations"... to "pave the way for similar proofs in other arenas".
If you are aware of other services indexing or otherwise leveraging the emerging StratML standard and/or StratML documents, please contact Owen Ambur to have a link posted here. We are particularly interested in services addressing any of the prospective purposes of the standard but would be happy to be surprised by useful and creative services we have not yet anticipated.
See also sitemap listing the WebAddresses (URLs) of the StratML instance documents to facilitate reuse, including automated indexing by search services.
HISTORY of StratML
Since the history of the StratML standard is long, it has been moved to a separate page.
AIIM's Community Portal -- StratML Tech Group | StratML Announcements Group | Query of AIIM's Community Groups on the term "StratML"
AIIM 24: 2014, Best Practice - Strategy Markup Language - Part 3: Additional elements
Now that AIIM has exiting the standards development business, it may be appropriate to start using our StratML group on LinkedIn more actively. AIIM's new community groups, based upon the Higher Logic platform, will only be available for use by members of AIIM.
GAO's scorecard for evaluating strategic plans
News coverage of StratML: Government Computer News (GCN) |
Federal Computer Week (FCW) |
Washington Technology (WT)
Search engine queries: USA.gov | Google | Bing | Ask | Yahoo
Wikipedia articles on:
Machine-Readable Documents |
Strategic Planning |
Theory of Value |
Strategic Management |
Program Evaluation |
Performance Indicators |
PEST Analyses |
Critical Success Factor (CSF) |
Business Plan |
Integrated Business Planning |
Group Development |
Extensible Markup Language (XML) |
Markup Languages |
Artificial Language |
XML Schema | W3C XSD
Business Rules Group's Business Motivation Model, May 2010
A proposed high-level model for strategic planning, June 2001
Perspectives on Strategic Planning in the Public Sector, a monograph by Richard D. Young recommending usage of John Bryson's 10-step model
Stakeholder analysis techniques, article
in Public Management Review, by John Bryson, 2004
When Did Strategy Become a Four Letter Word? Article by
Sandy Richardson, September 27, 2011
Preparing for Your Journey, Personal Goal Setting, Blog by Sherri MacKey of Luminosity Global, October 28, 2011