The following represents the current AACE International Strategic Plan as approved by the Board of Directors at our meeting in April 2014 in Chicago, IL. The Strategic Plan is organized into four broad strategies supported by tactics designed to convert the plan into actions. The Board of Directors will review the Strategic Plan at least once annually and will add, delete and modify as deemed necessary to achieve the mission and vision of the Association. The Strategic plan will be supplemented by an annual Operations Plan which will delineate the specific actions and activities that will be taken in the coming year as well as who is responsible and the anticipated date of completion.
Preamble: The Strategic Plan provides the leaders and members of the Association with a conceptual framework as to the future direction of the Association. The Strategic Plan delineates the mission-critical strategies and tactics necessary to fulfill our vision and provides guidelines as to how we will allocate our limited volunteers, staff and financial resources in the future. As Jim Collins, author of Built to Last, observed; “There is great solace in the simple fact of clarity—about what is vital and what is not.”
The Strategic Plan is designed to concentrate our resources on our core strengths within the total cost management community. We will no longer invest resources in areas that are not core strengths or where we cannot add unique value as a professional association.
It should be stressed that this current version of the Strategic Plan blends elements of the previous strategic plan with input from the October 2013 planning session in Morgantown, WV. It is likely that certain strategies and tactics may be altered or even eliminated as part of our pursuing purposeful abandonment. It is possible that other strategies and tactics may be added during future deliberations as we view the Strategic Plan as living and ever-changing.
STRATEGY ONE: AACE International will establish itself as the leading technical authority in total cost management for programs, projects, products, assets, and services through timely, convenient and cost-effective delivery of world class educational, technical products and training programs and establishment and promotion of certification standards.
Tactic 1-A:AACE will continue to offer certification programs designed to instill public confidence in the profession and acknowledge individuals who achieve proficiency/mastery in areas of specialization.
Tactic 1-B: AACE will continue to meet or exceed the standards of the CESB.
Tactic 1-C: AACE will promote the value of our credentials to the total cost management industry, government, and the academic community as the most cost-effective target market to create acceptance for the certifications.
Tactic 1-D: AACE will provide timely, convenient and cost-effective educational and professional development opportunities for its members and stakeholders through partnerships, educators and AACE learning platforms developed by AACE itself. These platforms include, but are not limited to, online training, publications, seminars and webinars.
Tactic 1-E: AACE will promote the value of our credentials to practitioners and employers worldwide with an emphasis on increasing the perceived value of our certifications. As part of that process, AACE will review the existing certifications’ viability as part of its commitment to focusing on our strengths.
Tactic 1-F: AACE will continue to communicate with our members and stakeholders via appropriate media. Strategically, AACE will review the frequency and format of such communication to assure the information is being distributed in an effective and economic manner. This will include expanding our capabilities in using and monitoring social media and other emerging technologies.
Tactic 1-G: AACE will continue to facilitate the delivery of certification examinations to a wider array of stakeholders by offering computer-based testing that assure test security safeguards and the integrity of the process as measured by accepted practices among the certification community. AACE will continue to apply established psychometric processes and procedures to assess examination questions.
Tactic 1-H: AACE will strategically enter into partnerships with other entities to appropriately facilitate the distribution of AACE resources globally. This includes the translation of AACE intellectual property into other languages, with AACE providing the intellectual property and the other entity providing the expertise or investment in translating and maintaining the intellectual property in another language. AACE will invest its resources in developing our TCM body of knowledge, not in translation expenses.
Tactic 1-I: AACE will ensure alignment of the Technical, Education, and Certification Boards and other organizational entities and programs. This includes providing direct representation on the board of directors and requiring annual updates of the strategic plans and operational plans of the associate boards to be approved by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will assure that the associate boards’ and other committees’ charters and plans align with the overall Association strategies and operational plans. In addition to assuring alignment, the Association will define the responsibilities and tasks of the boards and committees to assure that they make the best use of volunteer time and talent.
Tactic 1-J: AACE will continue to provide the best possible technical information for our members and stakeholders and supporting the activities of the Certification Board. This support will include the development of classroom and online certification review courses developed and delivered by the Association for all the certifications AACE offers.
Tactic 1-K: AACE will continue to publish study guides, primers and appropriate texts in support of the certification programs based upon the accepted body of knowledge created by the Association. The primary concentration of the Education Board shall be to provide educational and professional development resources that lead to one of our certifications.
STRATEGY TWO: AACE International will offer opportunities for individuals engaged in total cost management to exchange ideas, techniques, and best practices by creating a professional community that values and honors lifelong learning. Our primary focus will be on making the individual member and stakeholder experience as rewarding as possible given our resources. Our goal is to provide education and professional development opportunities to our members in the format they want, when they want it.
Tactic 2-A:Section and Region Meetings: AACE will develop effective and proactive sections and regions through leadership development programs and communicating with sections. AACE will continue to provide appropriate training and leadership development to section leaders while maintaining minimum standards for performance and compliance with association and governmental laws and regulations governing not-for-profit entities.
Tactic 2-B: Website: AACE will maintain a member-centric website that fosters learning communities and communication and transfer of ideas, techniques, and technical information to our members and stakeholders. AACE International acknowledges and embraces that for a majority of our membership and stakeholders, interaction will be “virtual” in nature and that AACE must commit necessary staff and financial resources to assure that the online environment meets or exceeds the expectations of our members.
Tactic 2-C: Meetings: AACE will provide a world-class Annual Meeting and International Total Cost Management Conference that feature the best possible technical sessions in an atmosphere that fosters networking, communication of ideas, and celebrates the best in our profession in a manner consistent with the Association’s culture and traditions.
Tactic 2-D: Awards: AACE will continue to recognize excellence in the profession through appropriate awards and recognition. It will also recognize outstanding contributions in service to the Association as well as achievement among sections.
Tactic 2-E: Scholarships/Student and Academic Involvement: AACE will develop specific tactics and actions to increase direct involvement of academic faculty to encourage future generations to study and engage in cost engineering through awarding scholarships to worthy undergraduate and graduate students. AACE should consider tasking these activities to a separate entity other than the Education Board because of need for emphasis on TCM education and professional development.
Tactic 2-F: Membership Diversity and Mentorship: AACE will continue its support of task forces, committees and other entities to assure diversity in the communities representing our membership and stakeholders worldwide. As part of this tactic, AACE International will develop value propositions for major potential market segments and develop targeted membership recruitment based upon these value propositions.
STRATEGY THREE: AACE International will be an advocate for the highest standards within the total cost management profession through selected industry, academic, and government partnership and informing the public about the profession and its role in improving society. Our vision is to be recognized as the authority for total cost management worldwide.
Tactic 3-A:Partnership Agreements: AACE will leverage our partnership agreements with existing organizations and enter into strategic relationships with other entities that advance the vision and mission of the Association consistent with the strategic plan.
Tactic 3-B: Government Relations: AACE will develop an ongoing government relations program with governmental agencies that need the technical expertise and educational training AACE can offer.
Tactic 3-C: Marketing/Communications Strategy and Branding: AACE will develop and conduct a marketing/ communications audit and campaign that will help “brand” the Association and ensure there is a long-term marketing strategy to increase membership and the sales of AACE products and services. AACE will create a communications strategy to explain the value added of cost management to key governmental, business and academic decision makers as well as the general public. As part of this process, AACE will review the presentation of our products and services to assure that they are presented in a logical fashion to our members and other stakeholders.
Tactic 3-D: AACE will facilitate industry transformation by leading change within emerging technologies.
STRATEGY FOUR: AACE International will develop organizational capability to fulfill the vision, mission, and strategic plan and to make the best use of our limited volunteer time, talent and financial resources.
Tactic 4-A:AACE will improve communications, effectiveness, and accountability through ongoing assessment of the organizational structure of its board, associate boards, committees, sections, and headquarters staff. Our goal is to be agile and quickly respond to future opportunities and threats. This includes providing adequate orientation, guidance and feedback to volunteer leaders in elected or appointed leadership within the Association.
Tactic 4-B: AACE will strategically recruit, retain, and develop an effective Headquarters staff to assure that quality customer service standards can be maintained and that the core elements of our strategic plan are fully supported.
Tactic 4-C: AACE will develop an effective and financially significant sponsorship program among companies and organizations that share our vision and recognize the value that AACE can provide those entities.
Tactic 4-D: AACE will continue to retain a minimum reserve of 50% of its annual operating expenses and will assure that internal budgeting and accounting systems are in full compliance with federal requirements as well as accepted “best practices” for not for profit associations.
Tactic 4-E: AACE will periodically perform viability review of major programs. The Association will conduct a major review of all existing programs and activities in 2014 with the goal of reducing or eliminating existing underperforming services and products by at least 15%. The goal will be to create the capacity to focus on and expand those services and activities which are of higher priority to our mission. The Association acknowledges and embraces that it must consciously abandon or de-emphasize those programs that don’t advance our strategic vision to be the recognized authority in total cost management.
Tactic 4-F: AACE shall develop a leadership training assessment and development program for all levels of the organization, from section leaders to the Board of Directors.
Tactic 4-G: AACE will create an annual headquarters technology and capital acquisition plan to assure that the Association has the proper resources to fully support the strategic plan. AACE recognizes and embraces that investments in technology enhancements will require a higher percentage of Association expenditures in the future.
Tactic 4-H: AACE will develop an annual comprehensive membership recruitment and retention program.
Tactic 4-I: AACE will require a business plan to support a consideration for all proposed new projects and programs to ensure alignment with the strategic plan.
Tactic 4-J: AACE will ensure the necessary infrastructure and resources are available to support international growth without neglecting its roots in North America.
Tactic 4-K: AACE will develop metrics, based on the strategic plan, by which it will measure and report progress on strategic initiatives and hold ourselves accountable for performance.
Tactic 4-L: AACE will promote and administer an effective Canons of Ethics program.
Updates as of May 19, 2014 For a pdf version of the Strategic Plan, click here.