Bringing your Idea Tracking System to Life - June 2021
So you’ve just deployed your idea tracker, now what do you do? After familiarizing yourself with the technical capabilities of the idea tracking template of your choice (most SoM teams are leveraging Smartsheet or Miro) and the information you’ll be tracking for each idea, you’re probably wondering how you’ll breath life into your template and engage your team in the idea generation and implementation process. Well you’ve come to the right place. In this month’s article we will give you some tips to talk about some of the factors you and your team should consider as you try to integrate an idea tracker into your team’s work.
First, you’ll have to determine how you and your team will prioritize and manage the ideas that find their way onto your idea tracker. At the start, you’ll probably see a lot of different kinds of ideas get submitted to your tracker: big ideas, small ideas, things that need to be worked on right away, and things that might be able to wait, you’ll see it all. With all this variety, it’s important to have a process for determining what ideas you’ll work on and when. Each team’s process will look different, but the most effective processes have the following in common:
- All submitted ideas are discussed as a team at a huddle giving the submitter a chance to describe their idea and allowing the team to ask questions.
- The team thinks about how urgent the idea is and the # of resources/people who have to work on it (Smartsheet idea tracker templates have fields to capture this).
- The amount of time the team will have to spend working on each idea is discussed by the team. “Just-do-its” are ideas that won’t require a lot of effort while bigger ideas might be larger projects that require more time and need approval from leadership to implement. These factors should be considered alongside the current workload of your team.
Next you’ll want to have a process to manage your idea implementation. Whether a large or small team, you’ll want to secure a formal management process to ensure all ideas are being worked on and receive the support necessary to implement them. Again, this part of the process can look different from team to team, but we’ve found a couple of best practices that you and your team can consider:
- Be sure to regularly discuss where each idea stands throughout implementation. An easy way to do this, is to devote time during each of your huddles to statusing your ideas and updating them in your idea tracker.
- Consider assigning a member or two of your team to managing the idea tracking section on your Miro board or the reports within your Smartsheet tracker to ensure everything is kept up to date.
- Develop a method for escalating ideas that are off track, like color coding idea cards in Miro or utilizing the escalation field on your Smartsheet tracker, to discuss ways to navigate the barriers that may come up while working on your ideas as a team.
Overall, there are many factors you and your team will have to consider as you implement your idea generation and implementation process. What we’ve discussed here is a great start that will put your team in a great position to tackle these and other issues. But what is important to bear in mind, is that idea generation is just one way to bring a team together to build a culture of continuous improvement. We are privileged to work with many creative and innovative colleagues. Let’s encourage our teams to bring their incredible ideas that may reinvent the way we think and operate in our workplace to life. For more assistance in establishing your idea generation process, reach out to the Process Excellence Team using the button below!