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Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Time Management Tips #3 - Three Wins for the Week

Time Management Tips #3 - Three Wins for the Week

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You're going to do a bunch of stuff this week.  A bunch of things will happen.  On Friday, when you look back, did you accomplish what you wanted to?

Time management tips #3 is – Three wins for the week.  If you have your list of three wins that you want for the week, you have a fighting chance to make your week worth while.

One of the most important time management tips I use each week is to identify three wins for the week.  Each Monday, I identify my top three wins that I want to achieve. For example, for this week, my three key wins are:

  1. Agreement on FY13 plan and roadmap for deliverables.
  2. Drafts of top 5 end-to-end scenarios for Office 365 for IT staff.
  3. Team up to speed on execution process/platform changes.

By having my short list of wins, I can easily prioritize my To-Do list.  No matter how long my To-Do list is, I add my three wins to the top.  This helps me prioritize and focus on the tasks that directly relate to my wins.  It’s a healthy reminder throughout the week when I am in the thick of things or in the trenches.  It’s a fast and easy way to take the balcony view.

Just like features are not benefits, tasks are not wins.  When you add three wins for the week to the top of your To-Do list, you have an instant way to help you rise above the noise and stay focused on value.

It works for teams too.  One of the best ways to get everybody on the team firing on all cylinders is to go around the team and do a fast rundown of your three wins from last week, and your three wins for this week.  This helps the entire team stay connected to the goals, what's on the radar, and what's important, in a very simple and agile way.

Imagine what happens when everybody starts focusing on wins, and your team actually knows the big wins for the week?  When you focus on wins, impact is front and center, and all the noise of tasks, go-dos, and blah, blah, blah ... fades to black.

It's transformational, and it's how high-performance teams are born.

In 30 Days of Getting Results, you can use the exercise and three stories to drive your week to get exponential results on a daily and weekly basis.

You can also find more time management tips in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, and on Getting Results.com

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  • Hey JD, just a quick question.  When you're identifying your three results for the week or the day, do you pick just three in total?  or do you pick three professional results and three for your personal life as well?

    There's so many things that I'd like to accomplish in both areas that if I pick two personal and one professional I almost feel like I'm cheating my professional life.

    Thanks for a great book!

    Mike

  • @ Mike -- Great question.

    The pattern I used when I first started was to pick one story for work, one story for myself, and one story for family.

    The next pattern, I moved to was to focus on three in total.  

    Now, I find it more effective if I focus on three for work and three for personal.  

    The key for me is making sure I'm investing enough where the pains and opportunities are.  And the limit of three reminds me to focus on a vital few wins, up-level my stories, and to focus on wins and outcomes versus get lost in tasks.

    I do stay fluid.  It's not the quantity of the stories so much as the impact or value of the wins.  For example, if I did do three in total, my stories would be higher-level and more epic.  That's why I like to play back and forth between three in total vs. three for work, and three for personal.

    Thank you!

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