5 Processes For Organizing Your Team’s Strategy
Every day you make progress. Days turn into weeks, months, quarters and years. Years go on and you end up in a different territory; you’ve moved from Point A to Point B. You’re always moving.
How you move through territory, that’s strategy. And there’s a strategy to strategy. That is, he who strategizes best, is he whom has a process for strategy.
Everyone knows they should probably write down their long term plans and medium term objectives. Everyone knows they should probably coordinate more systematically with their team on a monthly and weekly basis. Everyone knows they should probably do a better job of updating their team-mates of their progress on a daily basis. We should connect our daily progress to these longer term goals in a kind of strategic spinal-column. We should. Of course we should.
But we don’t. Why don’t we? We don’t, because it is a lot of work. It is a lot of labor-intensive, low-difficulty, low-value work that goes into being strategic. You don’t have the time to build and run these processes — to you, each individual process is just a distraction. But if Invisible Technologies could run them for you, in concert, they would make you powerful, give you a dimension of insight that most leaders never achieve.
Does your team do standups? A standup is a daily written or live sync. It can take as little as five minutes, so it can be done without sitting down, hence standing up. The purpose is to report on your activities — what you’ve done in the prior day, and what you anticipate you’ll do today. This isn’t just valuable communication and accountability, because the exercise encourages your team to be mindful of how it is moving through strategic territory, and whether it is still on track to hit its Sprint targets.
At the beginning of every day, your S.I. will ask you, “What do you want to work on today?” When you respond, your response will be saved as a Standup in your digital brain and will automatically be shared with your team. Their responses will be shared as well.
Your S.I. will also ask you if you want to facilitate a live standup daily, every other day, or once a week. Sometimes, these live interactions are fruitful.
If you’re the team leader, your S.I. will also encourage you to give feedback on each of your team members standups. You probably won’t have time to do this every day, but your S.I. can make sure you do it on some reasonable frequency.
You can even ask your S.I. to save the feedback you give each team member in their feedback file, so when they’re up for coaching or review, you can draw on that data.
Sprints are weekly, bi-weekly or monthly targets that your team has set. Every day you make progress towards your sprint goals. Your S.I. will ask you to update set sprint targets. At the end of the sprint, your S.I. will let you know what targets you hit, and ask you if you’d like to set new targets. If you missed some targets, your S.I. will ask you if you’d like to carry them forward.
Your S.I. will even tag your Done Tasks against your Sprint targets. If your team uses a project management application like Trello or Asana, your S.I. can keep track of your sprint progress.
Objectives are monthly, quarterly or bi-quarterly targets that you’ve set for your team or your company.
Your S.I. will ask you to set Objectives, save your responses and share them with the company. When you are doing Sprint planning, your S.I. will ask you how your Sprint goals relate to your Objectives. If one of your Objectives doesn’t relate to any of your Sprint goals, then your S.I. will let you know — so you don’t drop it.
As you execute, your S.I. will ask you from time to time whether you are still on track to hit your Objectives, or if you’d like to move the target forward.
Plans are multi-quarter, yearly and multi-year plans. You can plan out as far as you want. You can plan a decade forward if you want. Of course, the farther out you plan, the more guesses you’re making about the future. But sometimes the exercise itself can be valuable.
Your S.I. encourages planning-as-drafting. Because no plan survives contact with reality, the value of planning is in taking snapshots of your thinking, and improving your ability to project trajectories and imagine futures.
Your S.I. will save and share long-term plans with your company, so everyone is aligned. From time to time, your S.I. will remind you of your plans, and ask you if you’d like to write a new draft of the plan, or extend your target.
Want to make sure your Plans achieve your Mission and Vision? Or that your quarterly historical reports to your Board of Directors include data from your sprints? Want to perform an analysis on what percentage of Objectives you hit on time vs. postpone?
There’s no limit to how much you can do with an S.I. to do the hard work of organization for you; to give you the gift of intelligence.
Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
— Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Victory through strategy is victory through process.