Greetings, fellow leaders!
Today, we delve into the realm of managing the work as a manager within Rule 2 of our leadership framework: “It’s not about you, it’s about OTHERS!” In particular, we’ll focus on the second point of the 6 M Framework’s third “M”: Executing and Creating Plans, especially Roadmaps & Product memos. Join me below as we explore everything you need to know about the execution of plans, creating plans and roadmaps, and outlining and writing product memos as a source document of information.

UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF EXECUTION

Execution is the linchpin of effective leadership. While planning is crucial for setting direction and goals, execution is what transforms those plans into tangible results and drives motivation. Effective execution involves not only implementing plans and roadmaps but also monitoring progress, adapting to changes, and ensuring alignment with organizational objectives and other teams. The key thing is to make sure you have identified and clarified a Vision and your Strategic Goals! If that is done, then planning and execution become easy. All your plans should be focused on those 1-3 strategic goals. No other work should be expanded on, if it doesn’t deliver on those strategic goals!

CREATING PLANS AND ROADMAPS

Roadmaps are your plan for delivering on those strategic goals, they are also your plan for discovery, testing and validating that your thinking is correct. You should never just jump into the implementation of something, without gathering data, validating the patterns you are seeing and whether it is actually solving the problems that exist in your domain or not. You would be wasting time and money just releasing anything. So plan your work and work your plan!!!
  1. Define Strategic Objectives: Clearly articulate the strategic objectives and goals that the roadmap aims to achieve. These objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  2. Identify Metrics: These are important measures to enable you to see whether you were successful or not, in achieving those targets you established with your strategic goals. You can use OKRs if you want.
  3. Outcomes: Identify all of the outcomes you want to achieve. Outcomes in this case means a change in behaviour of your users, or within the organisation. What is it that you want to drive? Identify what problems they are solving?
  4. Ideate on these outcomes: Get the team together, to ideate on all possible ways to solve for these outcomes. No idea is to crazy at this point. then sit down and create a discovery plan that includes how you are going to test these ideas and gather enough data to make decisions on which way to move forward on. The more data, the easier the decision is.
  5. Share your roadmap & plans early and often: Share up, share across and share within, the early your share, the more buy-in you will get, the better the dependency alignment will be and the more information you will gather for better results.
  6. Assess Resources: Evaluate the resources, including people, time, and budget, required to execute the plan or roadmap effectively. Ensure that resources are allocated efficiently and aligned with organizational priorities. Ask for what you need, they can only say no and a no means a no right now; it is not a rejection of YOU, or your work, it is an impersonal decision based on resources, costs and cash flow.
  7. Develop Tactics: Identify the tactics that will be employed to achieve the objectives outlined in the plan and/or roadmap. Consider different approaches and potential obstacles to success.
  8. Set Milestones: Break down the plan or roadmap into smaller, manageable milestones , I personally like now, next, later as timelines and dates can be a real trap; people think of those as hard deliverables. Add some checkpoints for the team to track progress and ensure accountability. These milestones serve as markers of progress and help keep the team focused and motivated.
  9. Communicate and Collaborate: Communicate the plan or roadmap clearly and effectively to all stakeholders, ensuring buy-in and alignment with organizational goals. Foster collaboration and teamwork to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

WRITING PRODUCT MEMOS AS SOURCE DOCUMENTS

Product memos serve as valuable source documents of information, providing a comprehensive overview of an initiative, project, product, its outcomes, workarounds, features, benefits, target audience, and market positioning. It gets this information out of someone’s head, into a document that can be shared widely and used for discussion and alignment. When writing product memos:
  1. Provide Context: Start by providing context for the product, including its purpose, background, and strategic importance within the organization.
  2. Outline Outcomes, Features and Benefits: Detail the outcomes, features and benefits of the product, highlighting its unique selling points and value proposition.
  3. Identify Target Audience: Define the target audience for the product, including demographics, preferences, and pain points.
  4. Outline Market Positioning: Analyze the competitive landscape and position the product within the market, emphasizing its differentiation and competitive advantage.
  5. Include Supporting Data: Support your assertions with relevant data, market research, customer insights, and case studies to validate the product’s potential and value proposition.
  6. Document Links: Make sure to link out to your Figma, Sketch, Jira, Miro, Mural, Basecamps, Trellos, Asana’s, whatever tools you use and wherever you have more detailed work outlined, for that initiative. This is the central source document that travels with the initiative and when someone forgets what that thing is, they can use it as a reference tool!

THE LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE: DRIVING RESULTS THROUGH EFFECTIVE EXECUTION

As leaders, our ability to execute plans and roadmaps effectively is essential for driving results and achieving organizational success. By creating clear, actionable plans, with details and communicating them effectively, we empower our teams to focus their efforts, overcome obstacles, and deliver on our strategic objectives. Likewise, by writing thorough and insightful product memos, we provide valuable context and information that informs decision-making and drives innovation and becomes the source reference document. Striving for excellence, means doing excellent work in the manner you know it should be done! Consider the positive impact that this has on others.

PARTING THOUGHTS: LEAD WITH CLARITY AND PURPOSE

As we conclude our exploration of execution in leadership, let us remember that effective leadership begins with clear vision and purposeful action. By mastering the art of planning, execution, and communication, we empower our teams to achieve greatness and make a meaningful impact in our organizations and beyond.
Wishing you a week filled with effective execution and transformative leadership moments!