Introduction: Video Course

Section 4: Improving Setup

Section 4: Improving Setup.

Now that we’ve learned about Review phase and assessing how it works, let’s bring it back full circle by analyzing how we did with our original Setup of the scorecards and use the Plans tab on the Review page of MyObjectives to see if what we learned from this latest review can help us improve our next Setup phase.

How good was our setup? We can determine this by asking ourselves three simple questions: 1) How did our setup affect our ability to execute? 2) What could we do in Setup to make Do phase better? And 3) did we use the Plans Page to record lessons we learned that we will apply to objectives for the next period?

To highlight this last point, let’s look at three example Plans.

Plan number one: Make Incremental Objectives. This means break large or complex objectives into incremental objectives. Often large or complex objectives can be hard to finish, while unknown variables can add unplanned scope and time.

Let’s say we started with this objective: “Deliver Final XYZ Document”. In the case of this objective, a good “Plan” would be to create multiple objectives set to be completed in manageable increments, such as Objective 1: Prepare Design for XYZ document, Objective 2: Draft and submit XYZ document for buy-in, and Objective 3: Finalize XYZ document.

This method of planning allows for incremental progress on the objective and avoids the potential “all-or-nothing” pitfall. By breaking it down into these component parts, and evaluating each with the S.M.A.R.T. criteria, you may well find that the “finalize” objective may not be Timely, or that if it is, then earlier objectives might not be Realistic given the resources available (requiring action by management to alter the requirements or provide additional resources).

Plan number two: Mitigate Resource Dependence. In short, this means we’re including alternative resolutions to alleviate blocking items or single points of failure on our objectives to help reduce resource dependence.

Resource conflicts are expected and sometimes inevitable; however, building options into your objective can help minimize the impact of some of these resource conflicts. The “Plan” to deal with these types of conflicts is to evaluate your objectives, identify potential dependencies, and include mitigations for them.

Plan number three: Build-In Multiple Effort Levels. This means create objectives with different levels of difficulty. You will want to do this to help your team to build momentum and vary the workload. A scorecard full of heavy, priority one objectives can be daunting (not to mention unbalanced!).

Having a few smaller objectives for your team to get started during ramp-up to Do phase can provide easy, quick wins. This will allow your team to get off the blocks quickly, build momentum and offer a psychological encouragement before they hit the larger tasks. In this case the “Plan” would be to include some smaller objectives along with the larger ones to give your team an opportunity for a quick start.

Now that we’ve examined three example plans, let’s see what a completed Plan tab looks like in MyObjectives.

As you can see we have our three “plans” – or lessons we learned – as well as a brief description of each plan, and how we will improve our objectives moving forward.

Like the Accomplishments and Challenges tab, you will find the Plans tab is an incredible asset during Review phase. Use of these three tools can help you and your team write better objectives and become more efficient in reaching your goals. See how it is an essential part of the repeatable success cycle?

Time for another Helpful Tip! Does your organization perform quarterly or annual reviews?
The MyObjectives Review page can save your managers time by highlighting the significant bullet points and major milestones or watermarks hit by team members.

Let’s recap: The Review page summarizes your team’s accomplishments, challenges, and contains plans on how to tackle things differently. It offers a quick, macro-view to see highlights, period by period. And during review, your team can refer back to the Review page as an audit tool for reminders of what they accomplished and learned during previous periods.