If you work in a startup, planning the whole next year in detail is futile. Better think about the next 6 years, next 6 months, and next 6 weeks - straight from hell .
And another idea from the great people at Intercom. It fits most perfectly to startups where you usually don’t know how the world will look like in 3 or 6 month from now. So making plans a year into the future is futile. But also, you don’t want to lose the big picture.
So, try to split your planning horizons into three timelines: 6 weeks, 6 month and 6 years from now.
image credits to Intercom
The next 6 years
Get your heads into the cloud and think how the world you’re having an impact on might look in six years from now because of your product’s impact. Six years is perfect because it’s not as abstract as your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) or your vision statement. But you may already see significant changes you may have left on the world— e.g. many ‘mee too’ competitors, or people changing their behaviour for the better because of your product. Everything in between is too short to see any significant change and too long to plan ahead predictably; after all, it’s two new versions of iOS and Android.
The next 6 months
On this stage you connect your immediate plan to the impact you want to leave in the next couple of years. What are the initiatives that drive your product to have this impact? Ideally, you can see very concrete initatives that can be broken down into epics. This helps you and your team see the impact they might have in six years more clear and thus is an important bridge between the is and the ought. Get this straight and your help your team see their work’s purpose with new eyes — this can have tremenduous motivating effects.
But also make sure to stay humble before the task: You know that in six month the world looks different and changes need to be accomodated for. So many things might come up on the way and your plan will never go up 100%. But never lose sight of it.
The next 6 weeks
In case you’re working SCRUM these are likely your next three sprints. These are very concrete steps you want to undertake and your team should already be prepared and be in the know very intimately about this. Designers are already working on these tasks, and developers know what’s next up.
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