We've developed an even faster start-up process for getting a team quickly into the refresh planning process. We've learned though the years that it is critical to get to refresh planning quickly and use it to refine and engage the team in the planning and pull-in effort.
12-day Quick Start Process Steps
We start this with a one day workshop (can be done over 2-days in 1/2 day sessions if time is limited) to define the macro plan (i.e. a <50 activity overview of the program). We start with defining a macro map with a sub-set of the core team. This defines the "architecture" of the plan and includes the program doneness criteria, major milestones with their doneness criteria, and macro activities with overall ownership defined.
The second half of this workshop defines the macro schedule and we do a gap analysis (i.e. real schedule compared to target dates). We go through a series of schedule simulations in order to find ways of doing the program faster (i.e. close the schedule gap).
The following day we jump right into refresh planning using the macro plan. This is where we engage the full team including team leaders. We block 1.5 hours after the 30-minute daily refresh session to work with specific team leaders to scrub their parts of the schedule. We focus this effort on breaking down the near-term critical path. We do this for two weeks if needed or less if we can get through all of the near term schedule.
By the start of the third week we drop the 1.5 hour scrub session and focus on the daily 30-minute refresh planning activity. This process involves the core team and selected team leaders. Off-line scrub sessions are scheduled as needed to refine and or define further aspects of the schedule.
So in three weeks the process is running. Every week going forward the process improves and is optimized.