Increase Frequency of Refresh Planning

We advise clients to refresh their schedules twice a week (at a minimum).

Often, we observe that teams only seem to look at their schedules once a week, when they do the refresh. So increasing the frequency increases the awareness of the schedule, and time in general.

Best-in-class teams do refreshes three or more times a week. The fastest teams we’ve worked with do it every day (<15 min/session). One client recently had six teams doing it twice a day on a very time senstive program.

The higher the frequency, the shorter each session, the more awareness people have about time and better grasp of the work they are doing (and the time remaining to completion). After you do refreshes 3x per week, you soon realize that 7 days between each refresh is a long time.

The world starts to look like 2 day increments when you do it 3x per week. When you do it daily, people start to think in hourly increments. The notion of time changes as you increase refresh frequency.

My favorite example is of a 150 person team developing a wireless system-on-a-chip device. They refreshed daily for 15 minutes at 8:00am each morning. The manager of the project ran these meetings very fast. They started one minute early and always finished at 8:15. You did not miss them. He removed the table and chairs and they did the meeting standing to force it to go fast. They also had a bucket full of small toys that you could squish in your hand (stress releavers). Everyone grabbed a toy when the meeting started each day!

They had fun with toys and eventually, each person had their own squishy character they would grab. The toys actually looked like the people, as pets look like their owners. The project finished ahead of schedule with breakthrough technology. All the key people on that project still say it was one of the most fun projects they worked on (because they succeeeded).

Here is another good examplewhere they did 4x/week (multi-site team). They did it four times a week due to the time differences between California and China on Fridays. More on Refresh Planning.