Your Plan

Learn how keeping plans can help you excel in your role as a manager.

Now that you have your vision for the future in place, it’s time to consider what your plan for the next year is. You’ll do this by working out what you need to do in the short term to propel yourself toward your future vision, and you’ll then create an actionable skills backlog to work through.

Writing your plan statement

Firstly, reread your vision statement. Take it all in. With a pen and paper, jot down a few notes while you think about the following questions:

What will you have to do to reach your vision in the next:

  • Five years?
  • Three years?
  • Two years?
  • One year?

Refer back to your vision at each stage and carefully think about the skills, opportunities, training, networking, and learning that you’ll have to do. Where do you need to be at the end of the year to get there? Perhaps, you just need to get your head down and become comfortable and confident in your new role. Perhaps, you need to make the jump and get a job at a startup. Maybe, you need to connect with more people in your local tech community. Either way, get it written down, and try to specify concrete actions that you need to take that you can demonstrate that you’ve achieved.

Here’s an example.

My plan

By: J. Bloggs

This year, I need to excel in my current role. I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a manager, and if I want to be a CTO in the future, I need to learn the basics, implement them, and move along my path to mastering them.

I know that one of the areas that I often struggle with is knowing how to delegate effectively. I need to put that into practice as much as possible to increase the output of my team. Additionally, I need to become confident at having challenging communications. I can do this by continually giving praise and critique whenever it’s appropriate to do so.

I feel like I don’t know many people doing this role in the local community, so I need to put some effort into connecting with them, both online and in person. I can do this by reaching out to them on social media, finding community groups online, and attending some local meetups.

I’ll know that I’ve succeeded this year if I have a positive performance review from my manager and also supportive peer feedback from my team and peers.

Rating your competencies

Next, take a look at your career tracks that you defined, or use the career tracks from another company that you can find online. Find the role that you do and then take a note of the level that you currently rate yourself against each of the competencies.

For example:

Competency Current Level
Technical knowledge L3
Mentorship L2
Influence L2
Consensus building L3
Communication L2
Output L2

Once you’ve done this, think about how working on your plan will advance your skills in each of these competencies. You’ll be using this information to create your skills backlog.

Get more input!

If you want to make your plan even better, seek input from others.

  • Send your plan statement to your manager, peers, or a trusted friend. What do they think about it? Does it feel correct and right-sized, or could it be improved?

  • Ask for peer feedback on where you rank on each of the competencies. What do others think compared to your self-judgment? Why do you think that is? Do you need to change your rankings?

Creating your skills backlog

With your plan and your rankings in hand, it’s time to create your skills backlog for the next year. You’re going to take the actionable items from your plan, map them against the competencies that they contribute toward, and record them somewhere that you can regularly update with your progress. Where exactly you keep them is up to you. A free solution is to use a tool like Trello. This will allow you to make comments on the items as they progress through your board.

Your backlog could look something like this:

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