How to use I Am Why for Strategic Planning: A Visual Guide
How we map out our startup strategy
Paolo | 27.11.17
I Am Why is a software for strategic planning developed especially for startups and small teams.
The idea behind IMY is simple: you should be able to manage your whole strategy on a single screen, from goal setting to weekly tasks. It should always be clear why you have to do something. These features are especially relevant when working in a team. A clear way to communicate your strategy is fundamental for keeping your teammates on the same page. It's easy to lose sight of the big picture.
In the two years since we started Mindiply, we've spent both too long, and or not long enough on an idea before pivoting. We've also discovered that our interpretation of the same goal is sometimes very different from one another. We built IMY with the aim of reducing the risk of finding ourselves again in similar situations.
We come back to I Am Why every week so that we can assess how far we have gone, how well things are going, and to make certain of two things:
Is it time to change our tactics or shall we go forward?
Are we focusing on the most important things we have to do now?
How we use I Am Why: A step-by-step visual guide
Here I’ll show you how we use I Am Why ourselves. You can see the video of this guide here.
Step 1. Log in
It all starts with a login: I click first on the ‘SIGN ME UP or LOGIN’ link on the top-right corner of the screen, so I can log in with my Google account.
Step 2. The whole strategy view
The initial view shows what’s happening in our company for the next six weeks. The purpose of this view is to remind you what your current big goal is, so you can move forward to the next phase. In our case, we are validating that this product, IMY, is a solution to a problem fellow entrepreneurs have.
The High-Level Goal is then broken down into a number of Main Activities that we are doing to achieve it. In this case user testing, post-launch traction and building a second iteration of the MVP.
Once we have the activities, we decide what the priority tasks for each week are and put them in Weekly Objectives.
Step 3. Adding why, key results and milestones
Click on the expand button in the top right corner of the bars to add more information.
First, there’s the question Why is it important?. Even if this seems obvious, it's useful to be certain you are all on the same page. It helps when a few weeks down the line you ask yourself 'Why did I decide to follow this route rather than another one’
Then, it’s time to try to translate your abstract goal into measurable objectives. Write down what success looks like, what a partial success is, and what would be a failure. This helps to hold yourself accountable, and celebrate the successes!
The final section is about milestones, that are markers on the road that allow us to have an idea of how much progress we are making towards the goal.
Step 4. Top-down planning: From High-Level goals to Main Activities to Weekly Objectives
We have currently three main activities, directly related to our high-level goal. For example, to reach our High-Level target of 200 users, we have set the Main Activity goal of 2000 people landing on the imy.io page.
Once you have a clear view of what your overarching goal is, the High-Level goal, and how you are planning to get there, the Main Activity's, it's easier to plan your current week.
Every Monday, we check if we’ve achieved all the milestones of the previous week. We open both last and this week’s bars and add items to this week based on the three Main Activities we have.
Ready to start planning your strategy and sharing it all with your team? You can use I Am Why for free here!