Effective Planning For The New Year

Ah yes, another new year has come upon us. I have spent a lot of time on our mentoring site (https://develpreneur.com) talking about the value of steady progress and intention as we strive to meet goals. Although there is much to be said about effective planning and review on a regular basis, the beginning of a year often seems the most comfortable starting point.

Invest Time For Effective Planning

The first thing that is important and natural to do at the beginning of a year if planning. It is one thing to list out some goals. As you know, it is quite another to create a plan for achieving those same goals. Nevertheless, this is a necessary and healthy process. When we take the steps to pull goals out of the clouds and ground them in reality, our path becomes clearer and those milestones have a greater meaning. This can be lost in corporate planning sessions where big is the word of the day. Thus, we should follow our “what” with a realistic “how.”

For example, we can set a goal to increase our customer base by fifty percent this year. That is admirable and looks good on paper. However, how are we going to achieve that? There will likely need to be quarterly goals that will keep us on track as well as service, product, and resource adjustments that come with such a goal. Once we look at the reality of achieving that goal, it may be almost out of reach.

Grow As A Body

That is a challenge in growing a business. There is almost never only one or two factors in growth. A business grows as a whole. It is like a human body. You would have a tough time if your legs grew from birth to adult size before the other parts of the body did. Our professional goals are often similar. We have to grow in multiple areas in concert. It does not make sense to have an incredible product but no sales or marketing resources. Likewise, a world-class marketing team is going to struggle in selling a non-existent (or highly inferior) product.

Steady Steps Can Carry You Great Distances

These challenges are where effective planning pays a solid dividend. Those impressive goals have a number of prerequisites we will need to tackle to achieve success. Our planning will help us validate our plan and plot a course that seems much more realistic. This is the idea of eating an elephant a bite at a time. When we break down the big goals into the smaller steps we can break them down further into weekly or even daily steps and milestones. This approach avoids a feeling of some sort of death march and gives us regular “wins” to keep a sense of progress throughout the project It is a way of thinking that makes many software teams choose an Agile approach. However, this works for much more than IT projects alone.

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