Lean Planning for Teams

The benefit of this planning technique is not simply a prioritised list of tasks or the reduction of project risk. The greatest benefit may be that your team starts with a learning mindset.

Ready, Set, Go!

Step 1

Grab a big sheet of paper or a whiteboard, Post-its and Sharpies.

Step 2

Draw a vertical line all the way down the left of the page. At the top of the line add an arrow tip and write the word ‘Impact’.

Step 3

Draw another line along the bottom of the page. Draw an arrow tip on the right end and write the word ‘Uncertainty’.

Step 4

Divide the page into four by drawing a large dotted plus sign.

You should have something that looks like this…

Step 5

Next, get your whole team together and start to think about how you could fail. What questions does everyone have about the project? Take your Post-its and write the first question that comes to mind. It might be something like, ‘What will make customers download our app?’ I haven’t got a clue, so I’d put this Post-it at the extreme right end of the ‘uncertainty’ scale. If no one downloads it the impact is pretty extreme so I’d move the Post-it up to the top end of the ‘impact’ line so it’s in the top right corner of your graph.

Continue to put Post-its on the board for every aspect of the project, but focus more on things you’re not sure about rather than the things you know.

Step 6

Now we have a prioritised plan, start by focussing on the highest impact/uncertainty Post-its in the top right quadrant. The goal is to reduce the uncertainty so we can move the Post-its to the left of the board. Do whatever you need to learn as much as you can about the uncertain factors. Whether that’s a landing page test or diving into the code to decrease feasibility risks.

You’re done!

But you can still read the full version of this article, How to ride a pool pony down the Zambezi .