The present strategic planning guide has been compiled to assist countries with the development of a civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) strategic plan and work programme following a comprehensive assessment process. A strategic management process model is proposed that outlines four distinct phases, namely: (i) strategy analysis; (ii) strategy formulation; (iii) strategy implementation; and (iv) strategy review. The guide outlines the processes and steps to be followed, together with supportive templates to be completed in each phase. The strategy development process includes the comprehensive assessment process as a key step in understanding the CRVS environment. It also draws on the prioritization matrix developed by the University of Queensland, Australia (Health Information Systems Knowledge Hub - HIS Hub).