When you’re responsible for an entire team — whether it’s made up of 5 people or 25 — proper planning is essential. Regularly setting aside time for strategic weekly planning will promote consistency and transparency and make sure everyone is on track to accomplish their goals.
If you’re not seeing great results yet from your team-based planning process, don’t throw out your planning meetings altogether. Instead, think about how you can change your approach to make them more effective.
This guide breaks down the importance of team planning and the benefits it can offer when it’s done correctly. You’ll also find some tips on how to improve your approach and get more out of your planning sessions.
What is a team plan?
A team plan is an outline that provides direction and guidance to you and your team members. It helps everyone to identify team goals and figure out how to achieve them.
Elements of a good team plan
The most effective team plans will feature the following elements:
- SMART goals: Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. Read how OKRs can help you achieve these traits
- Initiatives: Larger projects that teams work on over a set period (a month, a quarter, etc.) These can be business as usual elements that take a longer time to complete than one week
- Planned working quarter: The quarter during which the team has planned a specific Initiative for
- Week by week individual plans: Individual tasks that each team member will tackle during the upcoming week
- List of responsible team members: The people who are responsible for handling each task
- A specific prioritization model: We recommend color coded priority level indicators for specific individual weekly tasks: Red (high priority), Amber (medium priority), Green (low priority) — also known as the RAG scale
- Effort level indicators for specific tasks: A scale of 1-5 that estimates how long each plan will take to complete — 1 is the shortest length and 5 is the longest
- Space for communicating ideas: Room for team members to leave comments, status updates, etc.
- A designated place for sharing important documents: A place for team members to share links, evidence of progress, etc.
If you’re daunted by the idea of keeping track of all of these elements, a weekly planner tool like Weekdone Team Compass can make this a lot easier. Or try FREE our action plan template to test these elements in action 😉 Both these tools keep everyone on the same page and ensures that your team is planning effectively, together.
Implement Weekly Team Planning
When building a collaborative planning team, this information can help you properly implement your weekly team planning process and see better results:
The PPP methodology is a management tool that team leaders and members can use for daily, weekly, or monthly status reporting. PPP stands for Plans, Progress, Problems:
- Plans: Plans are the specific Goals and Objectives a person has set for the next reporting period — in other words, what are they going to do next?
- Progress: Progress refers to the person’s accomplishments and finished items from the previous reporting period — in other words, what have you done?
- Problems: Problems are the items that either can't get done in a week's time as planned, or any other issues someone ran into during a weeks time. They often occur when the person needs help from someone else and can occur for various reasons (waiting on other team members, external factors, unexpected events, etc.).
When each team member lists their achievements, goals, and challenges from a specific reporting period, it creates more transparency. It also provides team leaders with clear insight into what team members are experiencing and where they might need guidance, clarity, etc.
This is a highly effective team progress tracking method. Weekdone Team Compass can make weekly planning easy for you in this aspect.
Benefits of Weekly Planning with PPPs
When it’s done correctly and with the right tools, weekly team planning offers lots of benefits, including the following:
- Improved transparency: An effective weekly planning process gives managers a chance to understand what everyone is working on and how much progress they’re making toward their individual goals.
- More alignment: Weekly planning creates more alignment on tasks and ensures team members are focusing on the most important things — the ones that will move them closer to accomplishing their goals.
- Increased accountability: Weekly team meetings also hold individual team members accountable for their work and help them to stay engaged and motivated.
- Feedback and assistance: Weekly planning creates an opportunity for team members to get and give regular feedback. It also creates a space where team members can identify their problems and ask for help.
When you take the time to create a team planning template and stick to a weekly schedule, you’ll see a lot of positive outcomes for yourself and your team members.
Improve your team planning process today
Proper team planning creates consistency and sets you and your team members up for maximum productivity, engagement, and success. Let's wrap it up with the most important points:
- A team plan is an outline that provides teams with direction and guidance;
- It allows leaders to identify team goals and figure out how to achieve them;
- An effective team plan includes SMART goals, initiatives, the planned working quarter, and week by week individual plans;
- It should also include a list of responsible team members, priority level indicators, and effort level indicators for each task, as well as space for communicating ideas and sharing documents;
- The PPP (Plans, Progress, Problems) methodology is also helpful when it comes to implementing a better team planning process;
- When it’s done correctly, weekly planning provides lots of benefits, including increased transparency, better goal alignment, and increased accountability;
- There are lots of different tools out there that can help teams connect and collaborate. However, Weekdone Team Compass is a highly effective option.