If you have been using our Rhythm methodology for quarterly planning, you probably have come up with a solid plan complete with SMART individual priorities that align to the company plan and have clearly defined Red-Yellow-Green success criteria. In order to take your execution to the next level, go one step further in your planning process to identify key milestones for accomplishing each priority.
Think about what needs to happen for you to be able to successfully meet your Green goal on this priority by the due date.
Break the priority down in to some key action items, and then record:
- WHO is accountable for this milestone (and you may also note who is responsible for doing the work on this action item if is not the same person)
- WHAT needs to happen
- and by WHEN.
For each of your priorities for the quarter, record your top three Who What When action items to get you started working on the priority. Then, check this action list every week as you prepare for your weekly meeting. Reviewing your action items will remind you of important deadlines that are approaching and help you know whether you are still on track to completing your priority on time successfully. Planning your action items at the beginning of your quarter will also help you identify times in the quarter when you may have multiple milestones in the same week. You can ask the team for additional resources to support you at those times or plan ahead to accomplish milestones early to eliminate this stress.
One word of caution when using this powerful tool to enhance your execution and achieve your plan; be careful not to get too far down in the weeds. Remember that this is not your laundry list of to do's, and if you are using Rhythm software, remember that it is not designed to replace your project management tool. You are probably already tracking important meetings, calls, and deadlines in a calendar or another system. Your action list isn't meant to duplicate your efforts. Instead, it is a tool to help you stay on track and drive accountability in your team to complete the plan you've set out for yourself. Stick to the big picture and focus on the most important milestones when making your actions list for the quarter rather than getting bogged down in every detail of what you'll need to accomplish. Maybe focus on action items that will throw off your entire timeline if they don't happen when you need them to - this way, you'll be reminded of those deadlines every week as you prepare for your weekly meeting and plan your week ahead.
I hope this is a useful tool as you prepare to achieve Green results on your quarterly plan!