Near the end of 2016, I promised myself that I would begin to write / blog more often. If not for myself, blogging would be a legacy I could leave for my children and for the rest of the world once I’m gone.
To start 2017, I’d like to discuss a personal roadmap planning template that I recently created after thinking through some of the cross-pollination I could bring over to the venture capital industry from my time as a product manager.
Over the past 4 years, I’ve always held lofty / ambitious personal and work goals but I’ve decided that in 2017, I want to focus on ‘Deep Work’ (to be expanded upon in a later post) and a part of this involves simplifying and minimizing the number of goals that I focus on every quarter. As a result, you’ll see that the themes I set for myself will be entirely work focused.
7 months ago, I started a new role as a Venture Associate at an early-stage Venture Capital firm, FundersClub. As with any new industry career move, I typically spend a great amount of time dissecting what it takes to become knowledgeable / the best. I aimed to do the same for Product Management (www.productmanagerhq.com) and I intend to do the same for Venture Capital.
In order to become the best, I’ve learned that it’s important to first deconstruct the qualities of the greatest in the industry. In my research, I created a digital ‘artifact’ (with some borrowed components from similar personal roadmaps that were created during my time as a PM) which has became the basis of my current personal roadmap.
If you are a product person or someone with product management process experience, you’ll undoubtedly recognize some of this but I’ve opted to keep this significantly simpler.
I’ve listed the overarching 2017 theme at the top of the Google spreadsheet, as well as the specific components of that theme that I’d like to focus on for Q1 of 2017.
Given that my overarching theme is to ‘Become a Better VC’, I’ve broken out the qualities of great VCs (created through independent research as well as validating the list through some of the best VCs I know) into 5 separate buckets.
By breaking down the individual detailed components of the qualities that make up great VCs, I’ve codified and created actionable targets for myself that I can more objectively achieve.
Secondly, to better focus my actions this quarter, I decided to focus Q1 goals on developing specific qualities within this larger list, specifically:
- Developing a personal brand (somewhat exemplified through this blog)
- Understanding core venture concepts (i.e. venture finance / legal)
At the end of each quarter, I’ll be able to go back to fill out the rows in this sheet that tied to my quarterly goals: specifically outlining achievements that demonstrated mastery, areas to improve, ideas for next steps, rating myself quantitatively, and seeking an external party to rate me quantitatively (ideally someone on my venture team).
The second part of this roadmap involves quarterly sprint planning, where you break out your quarterly theme into actionable ‘sprint tasks.’
Whereas your personal roadmap may guide you in the right overarching direction, this sprint planning doc tactically lays out the individual behaviors you need to be completing in order to hit your quarterly goal(s).
In this example screenshot, becoming a better VC may involve individual sprint tasks of blogging more & doing more research on specific topics in order to blog / speak about them.
I’ve also linked this doc back to my original personal roadmap spreadsheet for quick reference.
My hope is that laying out my documentation / thought process here will guide you in establishing your own personal roadmap as well as sprint planning every quarter. As with most things in life, this is an ongoing experiment and I will probably need to update this process over time but I’m excited to see how it goes.
You can try making your own copies with these template links below (click ‘File’ -> ‘Make a Copy’)
Part 1: Personal Roadmap Template
Credits to John Saddington for inspiring me to teach everything I know and publish this post.