How do you make plans in an environment of constant changes? Our experience tells us one thing – be flexible. Quickly adapting to the new situation and letting go of old plans is the key. You shouldn’t make very specific long-term plans.
Agile, scrum, Trello, sprints – these and many other keywords mark today’s approach to planning. It’s all about the constant revision of tasks at hand and updating the plans accordingly. You’ve got to launch your product as quickly as possible, get customers on board, and then smooth it out on the go.
In planning, flexibility means that everybody knows exactly what goal they are trying to achieve, but also that the path to it is not carved in stone (especially when it comes to software development). There are too many variables that can not be predicted – development can take longer than expected, user feedback can turn everything upside-down, core ideas themselves can change during the process. I’m sure you’ve seen it happen.
Business plans formed the core of every starting enterprise some years ago. It wasn’t about your 30-second pitch. It was all about the length and depth of your Excel sheet – how many employees are you going to have in 3 years? What do you mean you don’t know? Are you prepared at all?!
Don’t get me wrong, a well thought out business plan is still a good tool, but not for proving a concept, and not for a basis for planning. It’s great for flexing your brain and for going through different scenarios and business models. It’s great when it helps you realize that a new BMW after the first year in business might not be such a good idea. But you shouldn’t invest too much time in predicting the future. It’s better to start building the future step-by-step.
For us, it’s three months. And we’re not shy about preaching it. That’s why the Teamweek timeline zoom-levels are divided into weeks, months and 3-month views. Our own 8-year experience in developing Toggl (and more recently, with Teamweek) shows that these three zoom levels are the most useful and relevant periods, for which planning is reasonable – and realistic.
These are the things that influence the development (and the whole concept) of Teamweek. Do you have any extra suggestions, or perhaps another point of view?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section and our social media!
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It’s so much easier to plan & estimate with a small team when I can see everyone & all projects at once.