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Agile for everyday planning

I’ve worked in both Waterfall and Agile environments. We are moving away from Waterfall towards Agile but it’s often hard to convince senior members of an organisation of the benefits of this because they believe they can’t see what they are getting over the longer term and when they will get it. They feel the plan is being “made up as we go along”. And thus, they want a detailed longer-term plan ie Waterfall. The problem is the plan is invariably out of date immediately and takes an awful lot of time, energy and effort to manage and maintain. And it is not particularly flexible.

This problem can usually be overcome by communication, visibility, and involvement. In otherwards basic stuff.

If this is in place it works, means we can fail faster, pivot almost immediately and work towards a shared goal and vision which can flex.

So, if it works for larger enterprises, projects, programmes (with some additional checks and balances) why can’t it work for SME’s and individuals. I think it can. And I think it is far easier than trying to manage the “big plan” that I see many trying to manage. This is what we at Crag + Crest try to use. See the rough sketch.

  • Road map: this is the broad outline of the larger steps you want to achieve and is aligned to your vision. This may need work up front to ensure the vision is both understood and can be clearly articulated.

  • High Level plan: this is taken from the Road map. You take the big steps for the next month or two and break them down into a little more detail to move closer to a plan by week. Or if your Road map has enough detail, you could skip this and move directly to the

  • Detailed plan: this is now broken down into enough detail to work through one or two weeks as close as possible to a daily plan

  • Checklists and habits: these are closely correlated and aligned to the daily plan but may also incorporate the foundation activities which you need to carry out perpetually – your habits. These will clutter your plan and since you want to repeat them over time they can be managed via other means.

  • Wishlist: this is the collection of the set of goals in your initial road map and should be used to prioritise and draw from as you build your high-level/detailed plans. The beauty of this is that you can also park any new objectives, goals, or thoughts here and pick them up at your next review. Always bear in mind that if something fundamental changes then review both the road map and your vision – are they still where you want to be?

As you see I’ve tried to indicate that over time the most time is spent on the day-to-day activities and the least on the Road Map/Vision.

All the above should be quickly reviewed at the end of the period – what went well, what didn’t, what can be improved. If there is anything that wasn’t completed, should it be carried over into the next period or dropped?

So, whether you have a new business idea, run a new start-up, steer an existing SME or you want to get a little fitter/healthier, run your first 5K, your first Ultra, learn an instrument, make a big move, change a career I believe you can use this process to help get you there quicker.

What do you think?

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