The Rocks tool allows you to see your team's Rocks and associated Milestones

SMARTen Up Rocks, Part 2

The series continues on making your Rocks SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). While completing the objective is the goal of any Rock, it’s also important to clearly define what success looks like, how it is measured, and how you plan to get there.

Last week, we introduced the concept of using Ninety to “SMARTen up” your Rocks – a process that builds on the information gathered in the Quarterly Planning Meeting to create an achievable goal. As we shared, the first step is to remind everyone to follow the steps. Step two is to define the intent of the Rock. (To catch up on the steps, visit SMARTen Up Rocks, part 1.)

Let’s dive into spelling out what success looks like and how to get there.

Step 3: Define winning. 

What sets Rocks apart from To-Dos is the process of building up to an overarching goal instead of simply completing a task. You’ll need to understand when you’ve crossed the finish line and achieved that goal. 

No matter the goal, you and your team should identify the data showing progress toward achieving it. This data might already be part of your goal definition, or it might require some creative thinking.

Important tip: Try to avoid focusing on one data point – consider whether there’s a percentage or another angle of attack to create at least three metrics so you can triangulate the exact position of success. 

Once you’ve identified the data that correlates to your Rock, use it to create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for yourself or the team. If it’s for the team, consider placing the KPI on the Scorecard so the team can review it each week. 

Creating a KPI brings many advantages:

  • Dropping the data into Ninety each week creates transparency (one of the 9 Tips to Successfully Work From Anywhere).
  • It keeps stakeholders and potential sources of help aware of progress and areas that may need to be addressed.
  • The KPI will likely outlive your Rock, becoming a barometer of success as the company grows. 

Step 4: Define the Milestones. 

Rocks are big goals, so the best move is to break down the Rock into more manageable steps called Milestones

Here at Ninety, we like breaking the Rock into 13 weekly goals as part of our “SMARTening” process. It paints a better picture of attainability. It also allows folks to quickly realize when 13 weeks isn’t going to be enough time to complete the Rock, which triggers the overall scope to be re-evaluated. 

Another reason we create Milestones as weekly steps is that they act as good indicators of the Rock’s status, making it easy to report back to the team on how well the Rock is progressing. Reviewing Milestones during your Weekly Team Meetings removes ambiguity and makes it clear whether it’s “on track” or “off track.” Making your Rocks SMART shouldn’t take long at all but can be a powerful way to think out your strategy. The tools within Ninety make it easy to complete these steps, giving you the power to do things like batch assign To-Dos and easily plot out Milestones. 

The next step is to apply these steps after your next Quarterly and see the value of the SMARTening process for yourself. Let us know how it goes – we’re here to help if you need it! 

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