About the Strategy Review System

The Strategy Review System (SRS) runs on two-year cycles. Each cycle begins with a two-day Biennial Review Meeting and includes eight Quarterly Progress Meetings (QPMs). The QPMs provide regular opportunities for pre-defined cohorts of workgroups and Goal Implementation Teams to report their progress to the Management Board, explain their challenges and request action or assistance. In turn, the Management Board reviews progress toward each of the outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement and supports necessary adaptations to the partnership’s work.

The Chesapeake Bay Program relies on documenting the Strategy Review System process through two mandatory documents, the Outcome Review Summary and the Work Plan and an optional Presentation. These documents inform QPMs and summarize specific commitments, short-term actions and resources required for success. Each outcome also has a Management Strategy, which is kept up-to-date based on lessons learned through the SRS process.

While developing documents for their QPM, cohorts are encouraged to identify the science needs that, if addressed, will advance the Chesapeake Bay Program’s efforts to achieve each outcome. These needs are documented in the Bay Program's Science Needs Database, which supports the Strategic Science and Research Framework (SSRF).


The Biennial Review Meeting, marking the beginning of the two-year cycle, and the subsequent Quarterly Progress Meetings are shown on the timeline below. The full meeting schedule and deadlines for documents are also available.

Due to cohort name and composition changes implemented at the start of the 4th cycle, cohorts and outcomes for meetings hosted before June 2023 may not align. Please refer to the details of each meeting to view accurate information about the outcomes included in each cohort.

Supporting Documents

After the signing of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, GITs developed Management Strategies describing the steps necessary to achieve each of the agreement’s outcomes. The Management Strategies provide broad, overarching direction and are further supported by Strategy Review System documents: the Outcome Review Summary, the Work Plan and the optional Presentation. These key documents inform Quarterly Progress Meetings and summarize specific commitments, short-term actions and resources required for success:

  • The Outcome Review Summary (required) brings together reflections on the past two years, analysis of how new information will impact partnership efforts to achieve an outcome, and recommendations for adaptations or course corrections. This document celebrates accomplishments, evaluates long- and short-term progress towards outcome attainment, illustrates the link between the factors and gaps that could affect the partnership’s ability to achieve an outcome and indicates whether the partnership’s actions are having their intended effect.
  • The Work Plan (required) builds on lessons learned in the Outcome Review Summary by identifying actions that the workgroup can take to manage or respond to factors and gaps as well as describing the anticipated impact of completing those actions. In addition to describing the actions that will be taken during the upcoming two-year period to make progress toward achieving the outcome, this document establishes an expected timeline, responsible parties, performance targets, plans for data collection and plans for the communication of results.
  • The Presentation (optional) consists of slides that summarize the information in the Outcome Review Summary, as well as any changes the workgroup anticipates making to its Management Strategy. It supports a GIT’s request for the Management Board to take action or provide assistance. The presentation template can be customized to meet the group's needs.
  • The Management Strategy should be reviewed and revised at least once during each SRS cycle to ensure the document accurately represents the group’s current logic and direction in working toward the Watershed Agreement outcome.

Steps to Take

Below are the steps that the Management Board, GITs and workgroups will follow to prepare for, participate in and act after their quarterly progress meetings.

Step 1: Receive Cohort Notification

Six months and three months before the QPM, the SRS Coordinator will provide GITs and workgroups with email reminders. GITs and workgroups are encouraged to begin planning their work on the SRS process.

All outcomes must go through the SRS process, including providing a QPM update, at least once during each two-year cycle, with the option to do so once per year. Groups responsible for outcomes that are on course may opt to pass on the QPM once during each SRS cycle.

Following the three-month notification, GITs and workgroups will tell the SRS Coordinator how they intend to proceed with the SRS cycle. Notification should include whether they will complete the SRS process in Year 1 or Year 2 of the current cycle and which QPM update option they will use:

  • A full update, totaling 30-45 minutes with a 15-minute presentation, 15-minute discussion with the Management Board, and optionally 15 minutes discussing a request with the Management Board and identifying follow-up actions or decisions.
  • A brief update, about 15 minutes including a concise, five-minute account of the outcome’s status and recommendations for the future and 10 minutes for clarifying questions from the Management Board.
  • Pass, meaning no update will be provided in the current year.

Step 2: Prepare Check-In Materials

Three months prior to the QPM, the group responsible for each outcome should review its Management Strategy to refresh their awareness of the information provided within. Updates to the Management Strategy will be made after the QPM; this initial review is intended to reflect on the high-level, overarching direction of their work before delving into the finer-scale actions that they have taken over the past two years.

To reflect on the status and impact of their work during the previous SRS cycle, it is also strongly recommended that all groups review the actions in their existing Logic & Action Plan (the precursor to the Work Plan), highlighting each action as green, yellow or red according to the status:

  • Green indicates an action has been completed or is moving forward as planned.
  • Yellow indicates an action has encountered a minor obstacle.
  • Red indicates an action has not begun or has encountered a serious barrier.

The last column of the old Logic & Action Plan can be filled in to describe what the group learned from taking each action and how that learning will impact work moving forward.

Using this reflective knowledge, the group should draft responses to the “Looking Back: Learning from the Last Two Years” section of the Outcome Review Summary template. These questions are designed to guide discussion and document successes from the past cycle, progress towards achieving the outcome and lessons learned.

These exercises can inform the meeting with the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) and Scientific, Technical Assessment and Reporting (STAR) that occurs eight weeks before the QPM. It is strongly recommended to provide at least the draft of the “Looking Back: Learning from the Last Two Years” questions to participating STAC and STAR members in advance of the meeting with them to ensure an informed conversation.

Step 3: Meet with STAC and STAR

About eight weeks before the QPM, it is recommended that outcome leads invite STAC and STAR members to participate in a GIT or workgroup meeting. The timing of this meeting may need to be adjusted based on the group’s meeting schedule.

STAC and STAR members will join these working sessions to help:

  • Conduct the adaptive management analysis.
  • Highlight learnings based on the logic model.
  • Define and shape science needs.

During its meeting with STAC and STAR, the group should populate as much of the Outcome Review Summary template as possible. This will guide them in reflecting on factors influencing work towards the outcome, gaps and overlaps in existing management efforts and actions that should be taken over the next two years.

Ideally, the group should collaborate with STAR at this meeting, as part of the Strategic Science and Research Framework (SSRF), by reviewing their current list of science needs in the Science Needs Database and describing any emerging science gaps that, if supported, could be addressed to help achieve the outcome. Groups should list the outcome being addressed and provide the science category, a description of the need and any other associated outcomes, along with a list of committed resource support and potential new resources to support the needed work. Groups should update previously identified science needs that are still considered a priority for the outcome. The resulting updates to the Science Needs Database serve as a resource to support work towards the outcome and help align short-term science actions in the Work Plan (which will be developed after the QPM) with long-term science plans in the Management Strategy.

After the meeting, the group should complete a draft of the Outcome Review Summary with the support of their coordinators and staffers. This document is a product of the group responsible for the outcome and its parent GIT. The full membership of these teams should discuss and agree with the analyses and information provided in this document.

Optional: Meet with SRS Workgroup

Seven weeks before the QPM, workgroup and GIT chairs, coordinators and staffers are invited to meet with the SRS Workgroup to review their draft Outcome Review Summary and discuss common themes or requests. This discussion should inform the update to the Management Board, which can be made using an optional presentation.

  • The Presentation template may be used to summarize the Outcome Review Summary and support recommendations or requests for action, support or assistance from the Management Board.

Participation in this meeting supports development of a draft QPM agenda. This meeting also provides an opportunity for GITs and workgroups to request facilitation support to hone requests to the Management Board or engage members in the SRS process.

After this preparatory meeting, the SRS Coordinator will be available to answer additional questions and help identify and invite the right people to attend both the practice presentation and QPM.

Step 4: Present a Dry Run with STAR

Three weeks before the QPM, workgroup and GIT chairs, coordinators and staffers are invited to join a Coordinator/Staffer meeting with the STAR team to practice and receive feedback on their QPM update or presentations. This “dry run” presentation is optional, but strongly recommended. In addition to providing an opportunity for presenters to hone talking points and any slides used, this meeting helps members of the SRS Workgroup refine the agenda for the QPM and develop facilitation strategies to support workgroup objectives.

If presenters plan to use slides, they should submit a draft via a reply-all email to the invited participants to enable viewing on personal devices during the presentation. Additionally, it is recommended that the GIT or workgroup circulate their Outcome Review Summary for feedback.

Step 5: Submit QPM Materials

By noon on the day two weeks before the QPM, the GIT or workgroup must submit final versions of their Outcome Review Summary and presentation (if they plan to use one) to SRS@chesapeakebay.net. These materials will be posted to the ChesapeakeDecisions website and the Management Board calendar meeting page. Management Board members are asked to review all posted materials prior to the QPM to support their engagement in an informed conversation during the meeting.

Step 6: Quarterly Progress Meeting

The Quarterly Progress Meeting (QPM) is where Goal Implementation Teams (GITs) and workgroups give updates or presentations to the Management Board, share their findings and recommendations, and, with the help of the GIT Chair, lead discussion with Management Board members. While this meeting varies based on each team’s choice to pass, provide a brief update or give a full presentation, it generally consists of each outcome’s team providing an update on the outcome’s attainability status, successes, challenges and future actions to be taken in support of achieving the outcome. Occasionally, time-sensitive follow-up actions are identified that will provide necessary information for a final decision to be made at the next Management Board meeting. Other issues and requests raised during the QPM may be discussed, refined or resolved at future Management Board meetings.

Optional: Follow-Up After QPM

Three days after the QPM, the Management Board staffer, with the help of the SRS Coordinator, distributes a draft list of follow-up actions via email for workgroup and GIT review. The cohort will request any necessary changes or clarifications to the follow-up actions. Once requests and decisions are finalized through the Management Board, they are published on the Management Decisions page.

Step 7: Follow-Up with Management Board

As needed, the workgroup and GIT will complete any actions that are their responsibility by the identified due dates. Similarly, Management Board members and other identified parties will complete follow-up actions, as identified on the Management Decisions page. Workgroup and GIT chairs, coordinators and staffers may need to request time on subsequent Management Board agendas to follow-up on or complete action items.

Optional: Meet with SET

Four weeks after the QPM, workgroup and GIT chairs, coordinators and staffers have the opportunity to meet with the Strategic Engagement Team (SET). SET was formed to provide expertise and coordination to address the increased capacity needs within GITs and workgroups around communications, social science, local government and stewardship. Workgroups can choose to meet with the team during their Strategy Review System cycle to discuss, brainstorm and plan actions and activities that use the expertise of SET.

Step 8: Review Management Strategy and Work Plan

After the QPM, each group responsible for an outcome should begin revising their Management Strategies and developing their Work Plan based on what they presented to the Management Board and the Management Board decisions made at the QPM or a subsequent meeting. These documents are products of the group, as well as any parent GIT, and time should be spent discussing updates with and seeking agreement by the full membership of these teams.

  • The Management Strategy should be updated to reflect relevant information from the Outcome Review Summary questions, the QPM update/presentation and any relevant input from the Management Board. Ensure that the Management Strategy illustrates the link between the current factors that could impact the partnership’s ability to achieve an outcome and the actions it is taking to manage them. This is not intended to be a wholesale rewrite of the Management Strategy.
  • The Work Plan replaces the Actions section of the previously used Logic & Action Plan. This document describes actions that the responsible workgroup or GIT will take during the upcoming two-year period to make progress toward achieving the outcome. New actions and “carryover” actions from the previous two-year period may be included.

Twelve weeks after the QPM, workgroup and GIT chairs, with the support of their coordinators and staffers, submit the final versions of their Work Plan and Management Strategy to SRS@chesapeakebay.net. The documents are then posted to the Chesapeake Bay Program’s website and accessible on the Document Status page, where the Management Documents status is updated to “Complete.”

At the next Management Board meeting, the GIT chair for each outcome should report that the Work Plan and Management Strategy for each outcome have been posted, as applicable.

Meeting dates and deadlines specific to each cohort can be found on the Meetings and Deadlines page. Have a question? Visit the FAQ page.