2015-07-04 Milestone reviews

In my earlier post, I mentioned the milestone review/plan.
Usually I only do it for myself, but today I was asked to facilitate a review, – which made me think more consciously about the process when I am doing reviews, and also how to facilitate it.

The milestone review is done once in a while, maybe years between, maybe more often – not necessarily at actual milestones. I call it a milestone review, because I look at the milestones in life, and which direction it is taking. I group years and quarters, after life situation and events, and the change between them are usually around some milestone.

If I were to put on a simplistic formula, I would say that it has three parts: the review, the backlog and the plan. In practise it is more improvised.

. 1. the review, the past

First you look back on your life, – which periods does it have, and what have happened. For me, I focus mainly on the last quarters, but also look through all the periods, and on what has happened, and in which areas I am evolving.

. 2. the backlog, the future

Then it is time to go through the backlog. The backlog itself is a collection of everything you could imagine to do, both wild and crazy ideas, and very concrete tasks. First time would just be to collect all tasklists, major possible calendar events, and brainstorm into one huge bucket. Then the task is to go through it prioritise, and choose what is most relevant and realistic to work on.

I structure my own backlog into several areas, and for each area I prioritise the possible things to look into.

Writing everything you want/need to do down, also gives a good calmness, – if you know that you have captured and written it down, the mind will not go as much around and remind you about the things that you thought you could do, but are not relevant now. Though this actually requires the discipline to write down ideas for the future when you think about them.

. 3. the plan, the present

Finally it is question of choosing the overall direction, what is the focus now, – and at least as important: what do you choose not to focus on.

Sometimes I choose 6 items from the backlog, which is the only thing from the backlog that I will look at:

  • 1 major item which will be my primary focus
  • 2 minor items which I will look at, when I am not able to focus on the major item
  • 3 optional smaller items which I might do after the major and minor items