When trying to build a startup ground up, there are a ton of different tasks that need to get done. And keeping track of it all is essential.
But how do you do that efficiently?
For me I have resorted to using a combination of Trello and OKR.
We use OKR’s to define our objectives. We essentially view those as desired outcomes where it’s up to the people involved to do whatever is necessary or efficient to achieve said outcome.
It turns our that Trello is pretty good at keeping track of those objectives. And in a very simple way:
What we do is essentially to take our objective, create a new board and then name that board with the text of the objective.
By doing that we have a consolidated view of objectives, and we can dig into the individual objective, define key results and work on those in a kanban way, while we comment, assign tasks across team members and much more.
The key here is that if we want to get an update on where we’re currently at with the work towards a specific objective, we can just dig into that specific board.
Of course it still takes discipline to work within the confines of Trello and make sure that it gets used, and we’re still rehearsing on making sure that happens.
But so far our experiences are good. And I highly recommend it as an efficient method for keeping track of your progress against your OKRs.
I have become a big fan of mindmapping. And specially the application SimpleMind Pro for Mac.
When you have a lot of ideas, keeping a hold of them can be super tricky. This is exactly where mindmapping comes in handy; with the right application if allows you to structure your thoughts at more or less the same pace as your train of thoughts.
I now use mindmapping for several specific purposes;
I use it during meetings for notes and for structuring comments and ideas that arise from our discussions. And also for mapping out follow-up items, to do’s and the likes to make sure that I never leave a meeting without an idea about what to do next.
I use it for preparation of meetings and workshops and for something as basic as structuring an agenda, so I don’t need to fire up Powerpoint and do it as I start building a presentation out slide by slide. I find that it gets a lot more concise when I do it this way.
I use it for structuring arguments ahead of difficult conversations or meetings, where I can think about every possible argument and how to counter them in order to achieve alignment and progress on what we need to achieve.
And of course I use it for regular brainstorming and structuring thoughts and processes needed for work.
Come to think of it, I have a hard time understanding why I haven’t been using it before. It is just so efficient and perhaps one of the best productivity hacks, I have ever come across.
Everybody loves to hate the Excel-sheet. The model that shows the necessary cuts to costs. The model that shows the hockeystick blowing into the sky. Any model, really.
But don’t blame Excel. Blame the complexity of the world instead.
Because – newsflash – the world is a super complicated space, where nothing can be reduced to black & white, 0’s and 1’s and binary choices. It’s full color, total chaos.
All. The. Time.
For the very same reason you should never look down on the guy or girl whose job it is to use Excel to give a representation of the world. Because it is not only a super hard job. It is an impossible job. Because the world is complex.
Yet, it is great that someone is doing it. Cherish the Excel wizard.
Love the fact that someone is putting the chin out for you and others to hit – first on one side, and then on the other. Because at the end of the day we, as humans, need some kind of structure in chaos. Something from which we can navigate, have (informed) discussions and make (hopefully) slightly less bad decisions.
Because the best decisions aren’t made in a void with no overview. They are made where there is a sense of structure, overview and idea of what the heck is really going on in this world of constantly moving parts.
One of the keys to efficiency is to have a great box of tools fit for the task(s) at hand. For the same reason we’re constantly working to put the best toolbox at InQvation Studio together.
We already have some sharp tools in the box – Trello for overview, Mural for ideation, Lean Stack for jotting down high-level concepts for test etc – but we’re looking for more that fits the bill: Efficient yet flexible downstream while maintaining structure and oversight upstream.
The general idea is that no tool should be too rigid while at the same time not being so flexible that it becomes a total mess to manage. A tall order, it seems. Have you come across any that fits the description? It so please reach out.