The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Men
The whole quote above goes like “ The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. I think looking back at 2020, there isn’t anyone who could have said their plans did not get affected.
In startups, plans are made and changed quickly and plans and roadmaps are often ditched for gut and intuition. It pays to iterate quickly, fails fast, and hit upon the right idea in baby steps.
In the era of short attention spans, quick execution, and fast growth, it’s almost necessary to dive into the deep end before having time to plan for every eventuality.
And yet, the ship still needs a direction and a destination. We should all be heading in the right direction, even though in the immediate future we may be running all over the place.
The best way to tackle this in my opinion is to tune out at intervals such as the ends of years or quarters and just reflect on the past year or quarter. Then, compare what you had planned for that year. See what you did well and didn't and how it ties in with your Masterplan- a larger vision for your company or your life.
Then create another plan or a vision statement for the next year, set some audacious goals and some easier ones, and make sure it ties to what you wanted to do previously but could not.
There is one thing that is certain- without listing down the things that you want to do, you will certainly achieve less than your capacity and take much longer to even realize you are not headed in the right direction.
It’s cliched to say — you need a North Star- the large guiding force in your life/company’s life. But you also need some frequent and smaller reflections on the path you are taking and not just measure it against your North Star and but also against the time in which you want to get there.
When we are talking about an individual and their goals for every year, it may include many North Stars, and the way to do it is to list each one down, set smaller targets for each year, and slowly make your way towards them. It's a sure way to achieving at-least a few if not all and not regret anything at the end of your life/your role.
P.S Since the software business is about metrics and this post is about North Stars, here is some food for thought on North Stars and Signposts.. https://medium.com/@leapingllamas/north-star-or-sign-post-metrics-which-should-one-optimize-24bcc9c05bfb
P.P.S This is a bit of a self-help article which needed to connect to the world of business and software products and managed to do so with the above postscript!