The Six Weeks Cycle

As a small business owner, it's very typical to work many roles. From business development to marketing, design and project management, the owner of a tiny business needs to wear many hats until there is enough money in the bank to hire the right person for the job.

One of the roles I struggle the most is planning. Businesses that have a good plan tend to fare better than the ones that don't. For a small business with a few employees, it's vital to plan for the work ahead of time and to reduce the amount of day to day artificial busyness created to keep yourself and your team occupied.

Planning has always been really difficult for me because of the amount of time I have to spend on "more important" tasks typically allocated to my clients. I have always felt I had to scramble to get the next task planned as not to leave my team empty-handed waiting for my instructions. This also meant I kept on picking smaller tasks and telling myself I'd do it properly next time when I was less busy.

A goal without a plan is just a wish. Without creating a plan to bridge the gap between your wishes and your goals, you aren't giving yourself a chance to make your dreams become a reality.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Running a small boutique agency also means that the majority of projects are short-term. Very few go over one month, and between feedback rounds, it's difficult to shift mindset and work on a completely unrelated set of tasks to then return to that main project, unless of course things are well planned and documented.

That was until I discovered the concept of the Six Weeks Cycle. Made popular by the smart people at Basecamp and described in great detail in their help pages. There is also an informative conversation in this YouTube video with Adam Wathan of Tailwind CSS fame.

By planning six weeks of work, you only have to plan for 7 or 8 times every year. It also means that no matter how busy you are, your team doesn't have to wait for your next set of instructions and you can be sure that progress is made with little input from your side.

I still have a lot to learn about planning and leading a team of talented designers and developers but I have a huge drive to improve my processes and write about my findings.