Why your business needs a Sprint Plan.

After many years of building customised, cloud-based Sprint Plans for our clients, I’ve seen firsthand how effective they are in helping organisations successfully turn their strategic goals into reality.

With a Sprint Plan, ambitious strategic initiatives can be broken down into more manageable, bite sized chunks that can be easily tracked and reported on. They really are a simple, effective tool that every business should be using.

In fact, the events of last year solidified for me their real power. When the COVID curveball hit, Sprint Plans played a critical role in helping the businesses we work with reassess and pivot. They were able to park their established strategic initiatives and add COVID-specific activity across the entire organisation that they could track week to week, making sure nothing got missed in complex, fast-moving conditions.

In this article, I’m sharing how to set-up a Sprint Plan and some tips for making sure that the data you input gets you to where you need to go.

How to develop a Cloud-Based Sprint Plan

1.Identify and articulate your big, ambitious strategic goals and the different projects or initiatives needed to achieve these. It’s important here that you assign one person, as Project Lead, to be accountable for keeping the projects and initiatives on track.

2. Choose a 90-day or 120-day period. This might be dependent on how many people you have in your team, how often you get the opportunity to work together, the business priorities. Choose whatever rhythm works for you.

3. Identify and articulate the specific, measurable activities that need to be completed within the set timeframe. It’s important to remember that these activities shouldn’t be Business as Usual. The Sprint Plan is about tracking the key strategic initiatives that are going to move the dial for your business. These milestones and tasks also need to have a person assigned to them to ensure that things move along.

Bad Task 

Good Task

4. Every week those assigned to specific milestones and tasks need to report on the progress. They do this using a simple traffic light system:

Green is on track

Amber is delayed but on track

Red denotes a serious issue that’s causing a delay and that needs to be resolved.

Setting up a weekly meeting will mean that everyone can see what’s going on across the teams and resolve issues collaboratively.

5. We also recommend 15-minute one-on-ones every two weeks with the Project Lead and each person responsible for specific tasks and projects. This is an opportunity for any concerns and issues to be raised in a supportive space.

6. The Sprint Plans that we build for clients also automatically generate weekly scores so that you can get an overall picture of exactly how everything is tracking. This enables topline visibility and the ability to quickly see where more resources or support may be required.

7. My strongest and final piece of advice is to make sure you use a cloud-based Sprint Plan that multiple people can access and edit rather than a static spreadsheet, to encourage buy-in and make your strategy as “live” as possible. When built well, Sprint Plans can be a user friendly, intuitive single source of truth that reduce distractions and enable businesses to deliver strategic projects on time, on budget and within scope.

If you want to deliver strategic objectives, allow for resource sharing and realise efficiencies reach out to us today to learn how we can help you create customised Sprint Plans for your business.

About the Author

Damian Barlow is a Senior Consultant with Active Directions. He specialises in financial modelling, forecasting and strategy implementation.

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