In a previous blog we discussed the virtues of planning your company’s work day via a daily standup (read it here). While this is a great way of micromanaging (and I mean that in a good way), promoting team interaction and addressing issues, relying solely on daily planning meetings doesn’t give you a high-level view of what’s happening Monday to Friday. This is why every Monday morning we here at GGA hold a weekly planning meeting.
Obviously it depends on your work practices, but a successful planning meeting goes something like this:
1) Get everyone in the team together around a table.
2) Get the Project Manager (or whoever’s designated) to bring a list of the weeks work that needs to be undertaken.
3) The PM then leads the session by talking through each job/project in turn and getting input from the team on how it will be tackled and how long they will take to complete.
4) All deadlines for the week are laid out and the team plans the best way of hitting them.
Of course, this is an incredibly simplistic overview of running weekly planning and the intricacies are totally dependent on how you run your business. As a real-world example, here’s how we do our planning sessions every Monday morning.
Now bare in mind we are a software development company that run sprint and agile methodologies, but it goes something like this:
1) We sit around a TV that is connected to a laptop that displays our project management software, Trello.
2) Our Project Manager controls Trello and reads out the jobs from our work ‘backlog’ that need undertaking for each client.
3) The dev team then discusses each job and what needs to be done from a technical point of view. The jobs are then broken down into manageable tasks and ‘pointed’ dependent on complexity (again this is a Sprint-related system we have adopted).
4) Once all the jobs from the backlog are pointed, they are prioritised in order of importance and required delivery time.
5) We then work out how many of the pointed jobs we can fit into our weekly development schedule (again we use Sprint rules to work out the point ‘budget’).
6) Once we know what our workload for the week is, we designate team members to them for the day and our development week begins. Typically our planning sessions last 2-3 hours (sometimes 4!) but, to us, they are absolutely vital to kicking-off a productive week
Benefits of the weekly planning session:
1) It give the whole team a high-level view of what needs to be achieved during the week.
2) It allows for any technical issues or potential work blocks to be discussed and solved before work actually commences.
3) It gets the team ‘on message’ with the weeks priorities and gets them working towards the common goals.
So why not give the weekly planning session a go and remember, it takes 21 days to form a habit!