Sprints are a wonderful way to make progress on the things that have been pending from a while.
Sprint is defined in so many ways. In Agile product development, a sprint is a set period of time during which specific work has to be completed and made ready for review.
But my Idea of Sprint came from this wonderful Book: The Design Sprint
The Design Sprint is a five-day process for solving problems and testing new ideas. Inspired from this Idea, I started Implementing 15 days Sprint where I would aim to get 3-months worth of work done.
The idea is to have the deliberate focus on something for 15 days and taking away the focus from the things which are not urgent/imporant at this time.
The benefits of sprint are not limited to just creatives or entrepreneurs. Everyone doing anything can benefit from it.
So at the start of my sprint period, I would decide a goal or the outcome that I want to achieve by the end of the sprint.
I will spend the first day planning all the aspects of it and all the activities I need to do to achieve my goals.
In a nutshell that's how my Sprint process goes:
Step 1: I will start with deciding the goals and outcome I expect from the sprint.
- What are the goals for next 1 year and next 3 months?
- What do we aim to achieve in next 15 days.
- Why do we want to achieve it?
Step 2: After I have the goal for the sprint. I start with understanding our current position.
- What are the things that are currently working for us?
- What are the things we tried but we failed at it.
- How much margin do we need to cover to bridge our current position with the desired position.
Step 3: Generate the Ideas to bridge the gap. This is the brainstorming session where I will generate tons of Ideas on how can we bridge the gap.
- Aim for the quality over quality.
- No matter how absurd something sounds. Write down the ideas without judging anything.
Step 4: Formulate a Plan to bridge the gap. Take ideas from last step and create a plan on how will you be bridging the gap.
- When I do this part, I focus on 3 aspects of a task - Time to Complete, Probable Success Score and Level of Impact it might have.
- Based on the above metrics. I decide the activities I will be taking in this sprint.
- For the sprint, I limit the total completion time to around 140 Hours. I have tried with 120 and also 160. 140 is working well for me. You can try what works for you.
Step 5: Create schedules and Milestones.
- After you have a plan on what you'll be working on. It's time to create a schedule on what you'll be working on what day. In my experience, Milestone and Schedules helps you stay on track and review the progress.
- Review your progress every day at the end of the day.
- I review and plan my next day at 6:00 PM every day.
Few tips which have helped me make huge progress:
- Have a Strict starting and closing time. Having a strict time helps you stay focused and beats procrastination.
- Plan your week ahead on Sunday morning. And review your daily plan on the evening before.
- Use Pomodoro's to stay focused. So Intead of counting time in Minutes, do it in the no. of Pomodoros. Example: If a task takes 2 hours, I assign 4 Pomodoros to it.
- Have a single goal for each day at the start of the day. Aim to achieve that goal by 12:00 PM. And if you have achieved it then only take the next goal.
- Aim to complete your most important goal by Wednesday Mid-day every week.
Sprint are the wonderful way to stay focus and make hude progress in a matter of 15 days. The key is to eliminate all distractions, be intentional about where your time is going and set clear priorities.