Strategy markup language (StratML) -- Part 1: StratML core elements

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Last update: 03/04/2020

ISO 17469-1:2015 specifies an Extensible Markup Language (XML) vocabulary and schema (XSD) for the elements that are common and considered to be part of the essential core of the strategic plans of all organizations worldwide.

The vision of the StratML standard is:  A worldwide web of intentions, stakeholders, and results.  It is an internationally standardized XML vocabulary and schema for the information commonly contained in strategic and performance plans and reports.  Joinup, Meetup, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking services aim to bring people together for unspecified “social” purposes.  However, when such services begin to support an open standard like StratML, the vision will begin to be realized in the formation of virtual performance partnerships to realize common objectives in support of shared values.  In short, implementation of the StratML standard will help mature social networking services for business-quality usage.

StratML enables anyone who cares to do so to document and share their longer-term goals and near-term objectives in an open, standard, machine-readable format.  Since it is based on the W3C’s XML standard, it can easily and interoperably be implemented by value-added tool, application, and service providers. Such services will enable users to more easily discover and engage prospective performance partners to achieve their common and complementary objectives far more effectively than ever before possible.

StratML specifies the elements of strategic and performance plans and reports in an XML vocabulary and schema, thereby enabling such information to be easily indexed, aggregated, discovered, analyzed, shared, reported, and reused.

Who are the end users?

The initial users of the standard are the developers of tools, apps, and services that will enable anyone on earth with Internet access to connect (joinup) more efficiently and effectively with those who share not only their values (general moral principles) but also their explicit goals and objectives.  Ultimately, the beneficiaries will be anyone who wants to accomplish anything and needs to engage others in order to do so.

How to reuse the solution?

The StratML schemas are freely available for access and usage on PDF Association website, at  Since XML is a widely adopted and used standard, many developers will need no instruction on how to implement StratML. However, if they wish, they can purchase the documentation of the standard from ISO or ANSI. The PDF Association is also in the process of developing training resources. 

Some of the types of tools, apps, and services that will be required are listed at (Part I) and (Part II)

How the StratML standard relates to PDF Association's training resources is outlined here

Standards used

StratML is itself an American national standard (ANSI/AIIM 21:2009 & 22:2011). Part 1, Strategic Plans, is also an international standard (ISO 17469-1) and Part 2, Performance Plans and Reports, is on track for adoption as an international standard as well. Both Part 1 and Part 2 were purposefully kept as simple as possible so as to make them as easy as possible to implement and use. StratML Part 3, Additional Elements, which is considerably more complex, has been published as an PDF Association best practice. As previously noted, StratML is based on XML, a widely adopted and used international standard.

Policies relation

Although an initial focus has been to help U.S. federal agencies comply with the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the  eGov Act, care has been taken to specify the StratML standard generically enough to apply not only to agencies at all levels of government, worldwide, but also to all organizations whose plans and reports should be matters of public record. For example, tax-favored organizations should be required to publish their plans and reports in StratML format and link their performance indicators to public objectives.

Likewise, corporations should be expected to publish their social/sustainability (CSR) plans and reports openly on the Web in StratML format. Moreover, it should become unthinkable that any candidate could be elected to public office without publishing his/her plan in a format like StratML. Anyone who wishes to accomplish anything and needs to engage others in order to do so could benefit by using the standard. However, public agencies and tax-favored organizations have special obligations to publish their plans and reports openly, in a standard, machine-readable format.

Executive Order 13642 makes machine-readability the default for U.S. government information generally, and section 10 of the GPRA Modernization Act (GPRAMA) expressly requires agencies to publish their strategic and performance plans and reports in machine-readable format.  Subsections 202(b)(4) & (5) and 207(d) of the eGov Act, respectively, require agencies 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 across agencies.

Those are excellent practices that should be applied by agencies at all levels of government worldwide, through initiatives like Joinup and the Open Government Partnership (OGP).


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