Monday, November 30, 2009

Living Agile: 90 Day Action Plan

So, in breaking out of the post summer slump, our board at Twin Technologies had the executive team create 90 day action plans. I posted mine, and was surprised at how comfortable it was to create. Then, it hit me.. 90 day action plans are just a form of Agile planning.

I've always kept lists of tasks on 3x5 cards as well as various text documents that become intertwined over time. Whenever I start to feel like I am not focused, I return to the cards and find something that seems high priority to me. As a Scrum Master, the correct path should have been obvious, but sometimes we are blinded.

A 90 day action plan is simple to create. I used a Google Docs spreadsheet as my platform:

1. Create a new spreadsheet
2. Create two tabs - Goals and Actions
3. List high level goals you feel you can accomplish in the next 90 days on the goals tab
4. Prioritize these goals
5. List high level actions for goals
6. Create small action "tasks" for actions you plan to work on in the current week
7. Track status (%) against done.

In each goal and action there is an identifier so I can reference between tabs. I also have a column for marking predecessor tasks. You'll notice that this is very similar to a typical Scrum project:

1. Create backlog
2. Prioritize backlog
3. Estimate high priority stories
4. Determine what stories in the backlog can be tackled in the next sprint
5. Create tasks for accepted stories and give detail estimates
6. Track status (%) against done

The same benefits exist:
1. Ability to point to what goals suffer if other goals become a higher priority
2. Ability to self organize
3. Detailed reports can be generated against status daily
4. Reprioritization and goal changes are encouraged and expected

These are just a few. It took me about 30 minutes to create my 90 day action plan, and I encourage you to spend 30 minutes trying it out as well. I find myself more focused and really getting things done!