ManagePro Newsletter May 2000
How to get much, MUCH MORE out of your Top Level Goal Planner.In this Issue:
Take a look at your top level goal planner (hereafter referred to as TLGP) and ask yourself, "Could someone fill in for me tomorrow and know how to approach my major projects and goals, (what sequence of events is currently taking place and what needs to take place in the future) by looking at my TLGP?"
Most of the users we work with do not have a TLGP that's easy to follow, and consequently incur unnecessary performance problems and details slipping through the cracks. Their TLGP looks like a large bulky "to-do list on steroids."
In order to get more productivity out of your TLGP; you need it to look like a map or a plan. It should clearly display your top projects and goals, and then clearly delineate at the next level of indentation what series of steps or sub-goals is planned to achieve that goal. We say map, because the implicit assumption should be that if someone follows or performs the sub-goals you have listed, they should arrive at the destination of a completed goal.
Let's look at an example of a goal to build a web site. This is what it might look, with dashes indicating the first level of indentation.
Design Outstanding Web Page
You will see that the series of sub-goals is roughly sequential in time, and creates a sense of workflow. Specifically, you want to communicate (using your start and due dates) the overall approach to the project, what needs to be done now, and what is up coming. By the way, without a map or plan, your status checks become less and less useful. Why? Well because people saying they are doing OK doesn't have a reference point, other than to communicate to you that they don't want you to worry or request more information. It's the difference between asking, "How are we doing on designing that web page?" versus "Which of the Requirement definitions are outstanding, and when will you begin developing the tool list?"
Long lists of objectives are burdensome and boring. Most of us stop reading when viewing a long list and start scanning, and then begin to just skip whole sections. But wait a moment, how do you get the detail in when so far we have just outlined the basic work stages or flow?
If the first indentation is the map plan, the second level of indentation should be your checklist. It's here where you focus on the details to ensure a thorough, comprehensive approach to the issues at hand. Let's return to our example of building a website. If assessing requirements was the first sub-goal, here's what the checklist at the 2nd level of indentation might look like.
Design Outstanding Web Page
You get the idea. First create a map-plan, then build a checklist. You will notice creating a map requires analysis, clarification of assumptions and planning. On the other hand, creating a list can be as easy as emptying the laundry basket in your brain and just dumping out "all the things we've got to do." Without the analysis and planning it doesn't generate nearly the benefits in productivity. So don't start with the list (even though it's easier), as most people who start there never move beyond that activity to developing a clear plan that they and their team can follow.
A second suggestion to you for getting MUCH MORE out of your TLGP.
Consider reorganizing your goal details to focus on GRIP+ and see if your team's productivity and avoidance of mistakes doesn't improve.
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