How to Execute Your Strategy

Clarifying your strategy is a great starting point for any team, but how can you execute on that strategy from week to week? The answer seemssimple enough: break it down into distinct projects with detailed plans, identifying what tasks need to get accomplished, and when. The trick, though, is to find the right level of detail for your team’s plan. You'll want to include all the activity that’s necessary to keep the work moving forward, but if you make it too regimented, the team won’t be able to respond to changing market conditions.

If you find that your team needs better-defined projects and plans, hold a series of brainstorms and ask:

  1. What are our current plans across related teams? Collect project roadmaps and plans from teams focusing on a similar customer or outcome. This will help avoid duplicating efforts, not to mention the possibility of forgetting a crucial element.

  2. How should we prioritize our plans based on what customers truly need? When teams feel overwhelmed with work, it’s often because they haven’t been given clear priorities. To determine those, review your customers’ needs and how they are reflected in your roadmaps. If customer insight is lacking, conduct a Sensing meeting, or consider doing more intensive intercepts or ethnographies.

  3. How can we take these priorities and break them into weekly sprints? Determine what should be delivered when, and what the order of operation for learning should be (i.e., what will inform something later). Then, identify how teams are dependent on each other for information or results, and discuss how you can reduce subsequent delays from team to team.

  4. What format of project plan is right for sharing between teams? Teams often get lost communicating complex plans when really, other teams just need a simple list of deliverables and dates. Don’t get stuck in over-communication.

While you’ll probably want to check in on your personal tasks daily, it’s helpful to review your plan as a team on five occasions in particular:

  1. During the Project Kickoff, when the team breaks down tasks into what they want to accomplish in two days, two weeks, and two months.

  2. In the Monday Planning Meeting, when team members get granular about their to-do lists.

  3. In the Friday Shipping Meeting, which includes time to review what work was completed and what was obstructed.

  4. During Sensing Sessions and Team and Project Retrospectives, when the team can break down the work ahead.

  5. And last but not least, in 1:1s, where you can evaluate each person’s ability and interest in their project work.


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