Monthly planning

I block out 2hrs in my calendar at the start of every month for a personal review and planning activity. It’s often tempting to skip this recurring appointment task, particular if my calendar is otherwise busy, but it’s always a worthwhile use of my time.

It’s a monthly activity specifically because it forces me to take a broader view of my work than the shorter weekly prioritisation activities, but not as broad as my semi-annual reviews.

In these monthly planning ‘meetings’ with myself, I answer a series of questions. As you will see, there are both reflective questions, and forward-looking planning questions

In the last month…

  • What have I achieved/progressed in my annual performance plan?
  • What have been the biggest highlights, wins, learnings for my team?

In the next month…

  • What will my team be delivering from our product roadmap?
  • What new knowledge or skill will I acquire/develop?
  • How can I develop my team?
  • What one thing can I work on/achieve that will make everything else better/easier going forward?

The last question always fills me with a bit of a thrill, if I can answer it. There is something incredibly inspiring and motivating in knowing that I am planning on working on something in the coming month that will deliver some kind of step change in how my team and/or I operates.

Recently for me, answers to this question have included introducing a new service management system, defining key performance indicators for my team, improving the way we communicate the prioritisation of our projects in our roadmap, and establishing regular check-ins with key stakeholders.

I recommend you try establishing a monthly planning habit.