Dec 17th, 2020

Best Practices

Looking Toward 2021

  Written by: Kirk Hoaglund, Chief Executive Officer

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At Clientek, we find the agile guideline for project retrospectives to be very valuable. At the end of every sprint, if appropriate, and upon each release a retrospective meeting is scheduled. We talk about what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what specific actions we can take going forward to improve the project outcome. We like to do something similar at this time of the year for the company itself.

An annual, operational retrospective takes a broader view. Tactical issues and their associated fixes or improvements have already been discussed and tested throughout the year. Strategies were contemplated and engaged – some worked, and some didn’t. That is the focus for the year-end retrospective: an honest review of how our best and worst ideas fared.

I dare say that 2020 has been a year of lessons. Some ideas that could stumble along in a normal year, were revealed to be bad ideas when fully stressed by this most remarkable year. There have been times when the only way was to overtly muddle through. But there were other times when a weak strategy that had survived an easier climate led to examination, thought, and improvement. The retrospective reminds us of those times, to help cement them in ongoing improvement.

The most useful outcome from any retrospective is forward looking: what does the past tell us about the future? As we finish 2020, what lessons can we bring into 2021? What did we learn that can help us predict and plan for next year? A retrospective should always produce an action plan. Use the experiences of 2020 to make 2021 the best year, ever.

One lesson I already know that we learned is that our clients are incredibly resilient. Watching the ways that they’ve adapted to a rough year is not only inspiring, but injects great, new ideas into our own operations, delivery, and even selling. Their resilience buoys our own.

Perhaps my favorite 2020 lesson, though, is this: we know how to be nicer to each other, we did it this year, and we should keep doing it. I’ve seen more, cool examples of respect, caring, concern, support, and teamwork, in 2020, than I’ve ever seen before. The routine greeting “How are you doing?” was not quite so routine, this year. We all really meant it. As hard as this year has been, it has also been inspiring to me. This is one action item on my 2021 list: be nicer (you know how).

Be safe. Be well.