J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Models for Competitive Advantage

Models for Competitive Advantage

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In the article, The Strategy Accelerator, Alfred Griffioen identifies three models that have been used for strategic competitive differentiation:

  1. Porter's Model on Product differentiation, cost leadership, and focus strategy
  2. Treacy and Wiersema's model on product leadership, operational excellence, and customer intimacy.
  3. Boston Consulting Group portfolio matrix - how to direct the cash flows in your company depending on market growth and market share.  The BCG portfolio matrix has four categories: Cash Cows, Dogs, Question Marks, and Stars.

Griffioen raises the question whether the models are still relevant, given  Porter’s is circa 1980, Traeacy and Wiersema’s are circa 1995, and the BCG portfolio mix is from 1959.

I think the key is that while the landscape may change, the principles remain the same, they just need to be adapted.

This helps show why knowing the *why* and the context behind a principle is always key (as in *why* or *how* does it work … or even *when* does it work?)  That’s why patterns are a key way to share principles and strategies (they not only build a shared language, while sharing a problem and solution pair, but they also bound it to a context.)