How often do you get to the end of the week or month at work and wonder what you have achieved? Day to day reactive work can easily eat away all your time. The best way to counter-act this is to have a plan and make it visible. That way you can constantly be reminded of what you should be focusing on. This simple one page template is quick and easy to fill out, and will help keep you on track during the month. You can use this template for yourself or for your team. In fact you could use the template for a retrospective action.
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First pick a focus for the month. Maybe you want to try use email less and rather speak to people face to face. It is best if this is quite specific, that way you are more likely to do it. Fill in this focus on the left hand side.
Underneath add a few reasons why you have selected this focus. List the benefits of doing this: i.e. for using email less, the why might be to help reduce misunderstandings, to build relationships or to reduce the time to get answers.
Next think of a way to phrase this as an experiment. The idea behind this is to figure out if you actually achieve the expected benefits with this focus. For example: If I walk to the Product Owner’s desk rather send an email I will get an answer in less than 5 minutes instead of waiting 4 hours.
Now is the time to get specific. This doesn’t have to be a complete task list, but should include the important items. If the focus is a behavior change, then write the tasks you usually do that you would like to change how you do them. E.g. when the team has a question about requirements, instead of emailing the PO, go talk to him.
Check in Dates
To help keep you on track, you should check in with your plan once a week. Set up 30 minutes each week. Schedule it in your calendar now and write down the times.
When it gets to the check-in ask yourself the following questions:
- How well have I stuck to my focus?
- What data have I collected to prove of disprove my experiment’s hypothesis?
- Have I done the tasks I listed? Are there new ones? Are some no longer relevant?
- What do I need to change in the next week?
Finally at the end of the month, schedule an hour to think about how this worked.
Consider the following questions:
- How did the monthly plan impact the work I did?
- What impact did having this focus make on the month?
- Who noticed this focus and what were the side effects?
- How did the check-ins work for me?
- What would I change next time I do this?
- What did I learn that was unexpected?
- What is the result of my experiment?