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Tiger Teams

Concept development teams for new W&M ventures, academic and organizational

Problem statement

In advance of formal strategic planning, W&M has generated a number of substantive, high-impact, ideas that could simultaneously advance our financial stability and academic excellence. In several such areas, much work has already been done by a number of constituencies – Board, Faculty Assembly, administrative leaders, deans. These areas are of sufficient potential value to be pursued without waiting for a more extended strategic planning process.


Tiger Teams would be charged to develop the concept for a new venture to readiness for a go/no go decision. Such a decision would advance the concept to a further, "final blueprint" stage. Tiger teams, composed of domain experts at W&M, would craft and deliver products that can be assessed for such a decision, by the president and board.

Entry Criteria

For a New Ventures Tiger Team to be constituted by the president, the following must be true of the core idea …

  • It has high potential to align academic and financial models so as to enhance excellence
  • It warrants dedicated research because it could have strategic impact at mission level
  • Substantial preliminary research has been done
  • It has been vetted by several governing and/or advisory bodies at W&M
  • It has such complexity that a fuller work plan must be developed before implementation ("what do we need to know and how would we learn it?")
  • It requires participation of diverse constituencies to be realized successfully
Exit Criteria

For board review and a presidential decision, the team should deliver a very brief report that validates (or invalidates) the opportunity, including the following …

  1. Case statement: what we should do and why
  2. Business plan: costs, revenues, other resources needed and generated
  3. Preliminary assessment of positive/negative impacts
  4. Institutional readiness assessment
  5. Key constituencies and consultation mechanisms
  6. Road map for implementation (high-level, not detailed) and timeline, given #4
  7. As addenda: positioning and/or market analysis if relevant
Team Design
  • Cabinet and/or ELT sponsor as lead
  • Core team membership is reasonably small (~5-6)
  • Core team are faculty, staff, administrators with domain expertise and oversight
  • Appropriate number of sub-teams and professional consultants to work component issues
  • Sub-groups of representatives from key constituencies: those with relevant expertise and purview