Planning with rhythm

There’s a strong momentum building from our work over the first six weeks. We have multiple streams of work and a geographically disparate set of five teams so it’s really great to see the project settle into a rhythm. 

The musical term rhythm has the same power of establishing shared timing when working to a plan. Recurring meetings in the calendar can be brilliant as patterns are easy to remember, but if the frequency is too often, or too little they can create a negative impact on individual work and team culture. Getting this right at the beginning means that people quickly get to know whats going on, getting it wrong means you’ll lose that pattern recognition. 

We have an 18 month long project, and some of the frequencies we’ve been asked to meet and others we’ve guessed are right are:

  • Whole team discussion on current activities - weekly
  • Light touch progress checks - 6 weekly
  • Formal project reporting - quarterly
  • Advisory group discussion - quarterly

Beyond frequency, relative timing, or sequence, is the other facet of rhythm and choosing how far in advance an event happens compared to another can similarly impact or help the project. It’s harder to get this right but easier to alter as well so we're expecting to tweak these more through the project. Again, some examples for us are:

  • Financial progress checks (actual against forecast) - 1 month prior to quarter end
  • Advisory group discussion - 1 week prior to formal project monitoring meeting
  • Formal project reporting - 3 weeks after quarter end

Maybe if you’re planning a similar project you’ll find these useful as a starter, either way we’d encourage you to set a rhythm that suits your team and scale of project. It certainly makes delivery easier and more enjoyable.