The Planning Road Map is your starting point for the effective planning and organisation of your information product creation project.
From setting up your planning framework, essential preparation, to planning your information product, we have got you covered.
A profitable Information Business Owner plans proactively, sources resources and organises activities efficiently and effectively to increase the probability of online business success.
The Importance of Planning
Planning is an essential component of any profitable business. Planning helps you arrive at where you want to go, as well as help you decide how best to get there.
- reduces uncertainty and risk
- encourages innovation and creativity
- helps coordinate and guide decision making
- manages resources efficiently
- minimises errors, waste and delays
- helps achieve business goals and realise benefits earlier
Don't Reinvent The Wheel
Using well established, widely adopted methodologies / frameworks can instil confidence that the guidance and steps within the methods have been well tried, tested and found to produce successful results repeatedly.
Other benefits of utilising established methods include
- easily available training resources and support
- cost savings - don't have to create a planning mechanism from scratch
- time savings - leverage the body of knowledge to fast-track planning and organisation
- access to case studies of those who have gone before you, so you can benefit from the lessons learnt and gain insight into the benefits gained
- improved communication - use of a common vocabulary across teams or external providers
The Planning Road Map lays out the stops to help you leverage the benefits from planning and organisation activities.
The bottom line ... leveraging existing methods that have been widely adopted and proven to successfully deliver knowledge work, is sound business practice.
As entrepreneurs who often work independently without the luxury of large teams, we are generally looking for planning methods that are flexible, enable quicker time to market, reduce risk, as well as the ability to respond rapidly to change. This is the area where Agile methodologies shine.
Ultimately which framework / methodology or combination of options you select comes down to what will work best for you given your experience, skills, and process flow. While the methodologies and frameworks provide a 'true north' for best practice, you are free to adopt and adapt to ensure that they are 'fit for purpose' within your own business.
Let's face it, who has time to create a whole new planning methodology when we have got enough to learn just to create and get our information product out the door!
The key is to regularly review and reflect what went well for you and what didn't. Take those learnings and continually improve your planning practices.
"A goal without a plan is just a wish"
Stage 2 - Planning & Organising Road Map
By completing the stops within Stage 1 - Information Product Ideas Road Map, you will have successfully undertaken research of your market and identified your niche, you analysed your competition and identified your ideal customer, then you identified your product offering along with the format you want to use to create../identify-your-niche/ your information product.
In stage 2 the Planning Road Map shifts focus to planning and organising the creation of your information product.
This stage of your information product creation journey concentrates on:
Planning Road Map
Planning and Organisation Information Centres
4th Stop - Setup Your Planning Framework
At this stop of the Planning Road Map, we will be taking a methodical approach to setting up your planning framework. We will focus on utilising a planning framework that will support the creation of your information product. Think of this stop like the architect's plan for your new house.
The Architect provides a blueprint of the house being built. He or she uses a set of best practices to come up with the blueprint that the building Project Manager will then follow. The blueprint and guidance help the project team build the house efficiently incorporating the owner's vision.
Introduction to planning methods and frameworks
We start off with a comparison of traditional vs Agile planning methods. Then we dive a little deeper into the world of Agile practices and employing 'planning on demand' techniques. You will then be introduced to frameworks and methods used extensively for a range of projects and in particular the delivery of digital information products.
Key terms explained
The world of planning and project management can be a little confusing. Like every discipline, it has its own unique set of terminology and concepts. We will cover key terms that we will be utilising throughout the planning and organisation stage. It will also help provide a common language to communicate with others within your team or those undertaking work externally for you. In order to effectively use the tools we will be covering, it is essential to understand the key concepts and how the pieces of the planning puzzle fit together. This will provide you with a solid foundation from which you can then adopt and adapt the methods covered to best meet your needs.
Visualise your workflow
Here we will create a Planning Board (aka Kanban board, visual management board). The Planning Board is a representation of your workflow. It allows you to keep track of the big picture while also providing a view of how the flow of work is progressing. By making all the work visible, including blockers and queues, you can identify issues early on. The visual Planning Board you create initially will probably change over time as you become more familiar with your product development processes and what works for you. Don't get hung up on making it perfect first time.
Establish Work in Process Limits
Armed with the knowledge of your workflow, establish your work in progress (WIP) limits. Establishing your WIP will prevent too much work or too little work entering your system. Resulting in improved flow and your product getting into the hands of your eager customer quicker. Balancing the demand on your time along with your capacity improves throughput and ultimately increases customer satisfaction as well as decreasing cost.
The aim here is not to have too many spinning plates. The more you have in play, the greater likelihood they will come crashing down around you. That's a whole bunch of stress you don't need when there is a far better way at your fingertips.
Setup your Planning Framework
5th Stop - Essential Information Product Creation Preparation
Successful people understand how to prepare for great opportunities. While it may take time and some may consider preparation a bit of a pain, when you would much rather just 'get on with it', the rewards far out-way the pain.
At this stop on the Planning Road Map, we will focus on getting the essential preparation sorted so that you can be well prepared for achieving your desired results.
There are a number of resources required to put together a quality information product. This includes hardware, software and information resources. Tracking your reference resources is important not only for the creation of your information product but also for being able to leverage the resources you find for use in other material such as emails, blogs and your website.
Gather your toolset
The complexity of the product you want to create will influence the tools that you need to obtain. Knowing what you need to start off with can be half the battle. Here we touch on a number of tools used to create a variety of products as well as some other useful resources.
Create a Style Guide
The key to styling is to use style elements consistently. Investing time in the creation of a style guide will save you heaps of time not only for the product you want to create now but also for future information creation product projects. They are particularly useful if you chose to outsource to others.
The benefits you gain from setting up your work environment so that it is conducive to high productivity should not be underestimated.
Our greatest asset is our personal energy, a precious commodity that needs to be nurtured. Here we will take a look at a popular technique used to manage both flow and focus. It is very simple to implement and could make the difference between a productive or an unproductive day.
Essential Information Product Creation Preparation
6th Stop - Plan Your Information Product Creation
At this stop on the Planning Road Map, we will focus on using an agile approach to plan and organise the creation of your information product offering.
Balancing time, cost and quality
Balancing the time to create your product, with the cost of creation, along with the level of quality you want to obtain can be tricky. Understanding the impact of tweaking one at the expense of another is the first step.
Establish the work to be completed
Once you know what you want to achieve, it is time to work out how to achieve it. Work items need to be identified and task dependencies also need to be established. This is a key aspect of your planning activities and should be considered a valuable investment of your time. This is where the rubber hits the road in planning your product creation and it will help set you up for product creation success.
Before we can kick off working the plan we need to ensure that the work items we will be working on are clear, digestible, valuable, independent and testable. We also need to make sure that we have identified all the resources required. Defining your Definition of Ready will get you started off on the right track. A vital checklist that you will use over and over again.
Populating your Planning Board
Once you have established the work items needed to create your product it is time to utilise the Planning Board you created earlier. Prioritising your Product Backlog and applying your Work In Progress Limits are just some of the activities that will help you progress your plan. Using your Planning Board and tracking your progress will help keep project tasks visible and keep you on track for product creation success.
When am I done?
A set of acceptance criteria provides guidance to determine when the desired outcome has been achieved. Defining the Definition of Done is key to creating quality products. This technique will save you from making avoidable errors and releasing a product that flops because of poor quality and missing pieces.
It is good to take a step back and check if you have all that you need before you start. It's like when you're making a meal you haven't made before and you realise after you start putting everything together that you forgot one of the key ingredients and have to go back and start over. Or when you're up a ladder in the middle of a home improvement project you realise you don't have the right tool to do the job. It is not only really annoying, it wastes time. Time you could have been spending on getting your project across the line. Have you heard the old saying 'measure twice, cut once'? Same applies here.