With breakthroughs in technology seeming to happen every week, projects and products often face sudden and unexpected changes. For those of us who love organization, throwing out months of planning is a painful (and often repeated) process. So what's the solution? Agile planning.
Agile planning redefines the long-term project planning of traditional workplaces. First, a backlog is created, containing all the tasks that must be completed for a certain project or service. Next, teams meet monthly, weekly, or even daily to set up sprint goals. These sprints are sized for completion before the next meeting, and at every meeting, the team discusses progress and sets new goals. However, agile is not just an itinerary, it's a mindset that embraces flexibility and accountability.
So, why agile? Here at Maestro, we use agile planning for developing products and service projects, and we've seen an increase in communication, accountability, and project success. When a project (or client, or just plain life) suddenly changes, we simply redefine goals at the next sprint meeting. There's no panic. No months of scrapped planning. We just flex around the problem and adjust.
If it isn't clear by now, we're huge fans of agile planning, and if you're even the slightest bit intrigued from reading about it, here's some good news for you.
Agile is not just for team projects or software development.
We've noticed, along with thousands of other people, that agile and sprint planning can be incorporated into our everyday lives. Life loves to surprise us with the unexpected (surprise!). That's why we're challenging you to have a sprint planning meeting with yourself every day for the next three weeks.
Yes, three weeks. Here is what you need to do:
Create a backlog of everything that you want or need to accomplish. This is kind of like your traditional running to-do list. It's a dynamic list that you can add to and reprioritize at any time.
2. Break it down now
Since a sprint is only going to be one day long, break down each item in your backlog into tasks you can accomplish in one day.
For example, we're currently working on a new campaign about our Loop software that's set to last for a few months. Instead of putting "write Loop blogs" on the backlog, because it's impossible for one person to write 10+ blogs in one day, we might break that down and have, "write two Loop blogs" five times on the backlog instead. That sounds a lot more simple, right?
3. Sprint (repeat this step daily for three weeks)
Now that your backlog is set, you're ready to sprint. Every day, start your morning out by moving items from your backlog to your sprint list. Make a commitment to finishing the items on your sprint list every day. You'll find that agile does more than help you check off goals, it also reduces a large amount of stress. And that's something we all need.
Protip: Find someone to be your accountability partner. One of the reasons agile works so well for teams is because it keeps people accountable. Find someone who will go through your list with you at the beginning of each day and ask the following questions:
- Did you finish your sprint list?
- If not, what tasks remain unfinished and why?
- How can you break unfinished tasks down into smaller pieces?
Here at Maestro, sprint planning is the way we work, both as teams and individuals. In the beginning, our biggest common struggle was committing the right amount of tasks from the backlog to each sprint. It might take a bit to figure out your rhythm, but be honest with what you can accomplish in a day. If you decide to give it a try, drop us a line and let us know how it works!
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