Introduction: Video Course

Section 3: Assessing How It Worked

Section 3: Assessing How It Worked. In the previous section, we reviewed our accomplishments in the Do phase. Now let’s assess our challenges.

So, what worked and what didn’t? Review is about more than reporting what happened, it also includes analyzing the results and how the team performed.

Not every result will be positive; it is not uncommon for teams to encounter challenges along the way. In MyObjectives the Challenges tab on the Review page was created to document obstacles encountered during the period. Since we looked at three accomplishments earlier, let’s look at three challenges.

Challenge number one: “Underestimated Scope.” The objective was “complete certification on accounts receivable updates.” This was a priority two objective, and, as we noted, the period ended with both the actual and forecast scores at “Started,” meaning this objective never really got off the ground.

Only 20% of the planned outcome was finished. The objective itself was bigger than expected and should have been broken into smaller objectives that could have been completed incrementally. This would have awarded more points along the way and offered the team a better-defined scope of the work involved.

Challenge number two came up when the team underestimated the complexity of an objective. The objective read “eliminate lost discounts because of late payments this quarter.” This was a priority two objective, with both actual and forecast ending at “partial success.”

While significant progress was made on this objective, it was never re-evaluated to see if the objective was doable in the allotted timeframe. As it turned out, resolving the causes of late payments was harder than expected and the objective should have started with a smaller outcome.

The third challenge arose when resources were unavailable. The objective was written as “Prepare and present a revised strategic revenue plan to CEO by end of the quarter.” Again, this was a priority two objective, and the team actually did reach full success on this objective albeit not for the right reasons.

In this case the CEO was unavailable to approve the draft, so the objective stalled until an ad-hoc meeting turned the situation into a crisis.

To mitigate this blocking item, the team should have made other approval arrangements or had a contingency plan in place. As we documented the accomplishments in MyObjectives, we can record the challenges. Let’s see what that looks like.

This is what a completed Challenges tab looks like in Review phase. This page is accessed by selecting “Review” from the Scorecard drop-down menu. As you can see we have listed our three challenges throughout the previous period with a description as to why these objectives were challenging, what the outcomes were, and how we can improve moving forward.

The value of documenting challenges is similar to what is gained documenting accomplishments. In addition, recording challenges offers the added benefit of reminding what obstacles the team encountered during the previous period – which can help give your team a blueprint for how to deal with similar hurdles in the future.

Helpful Tip: Look for the Why. When you and your team are reviewing incomplete objectives on the scorecard, we suggest you consider looking beyond “what” was not completed and focus more on “why” an objective was not completed.

A good illustration of this is the Crimson team’s objective in our earlier example’s challenge number three. That objective stalled when the CEO was unavailable to approve the plan.

In that case, what was the why? Was it CEO availability or how the objective was written? To solve this dilemma, an alternative solution would be to write the objective with multiple options for approval – which would avoid dependency on the CEO’s schedule.

Remember, the purpose of the Challenges tab is to learn from the past and apply what we’ve learned to new objectives in upcoming periods.