ACTION DRIVEN FAITH:
HOW TO GAIN PROSPERITY USING AGILE METHODOLOGY – Part 2
As Christians, we can apply the concepts of Agile Methodology to improve our personal financial situations. This involves following a series of steps designed to help us to more successfully achieve our financial goals by applying the concepts of Agile Methodology to biblical principles. Last week, we outlined the first two (2) steps in the process which are:
- Praying for guidance, direction and purpose for our lives and
- Formulating clear goals
We learned that we should first ask God for wisdom and direction before we set out to change anything regarding our finances. Just like King Solomon did, we too should ask God for wisdom in approaching our finances. Also, we must establish clear goals for what we want to achieve. Our goals will act as a source of motivation and direction as we move towards financial prosperity. We cited the example of how Joseph had a goal of ensuring that there was sufficient food in Egypt when there was famine everywhere else. Based on this goal, he devised a clear plan with the guidance of the spirit of God to get to His intended destination. His plan guided every decision that he made from there on. Similarly, our ultimate financial goals should guide all our decisions.
Once we have completed those first 2 steps, we should move to the following steps. This week, we will cover the next two steps in the process which are:
- Breaking down goals into smaller, actionable steps and
- Executing our plans iteratively
I will elaborate further on these two steps in this week’s article.
Breaking Down Goals into Smaller, Actionable Steps
It is always a good idea not to only establish goals for ourselves, but to also break down those goals into smaller, actionable steps that will make the goal easier to achieve.
Using the same example of how Joseph prepared for the famine, we see that he broke down his goal into two (2) distinct steps. The first step dealt with actions steps during the time of plenty and the second step involved action steps during the time of hunger. Joseph decided that during the time of plenty, he would save grain and food from all the crops so that there would be enough left over for the seven years of famine that would follow. During the seven years of plenty Joseph devised a strategy that would allow for the wise allocation of grain and food so that it would last for the entire seven years.
By breaking down the overall goal into two smaller goals, Joseph was able to achieve his objectives in a systematic and simple way. We should take the same approach when we plan our finances. If for example, you have a goal of buying a home, you should first take the time to break down that goal into smaller tasks such as saving a certain specific amount on a weekly or monthly basis for the down payment; seeking out additional sources of funding such as mortgage financing, finding a good realtor within a certain time frame etc.
It must be noted that whatever goals we set for ourselves, they should be SMART goals. In other words, the goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time -bound. This should apply to both the overall goal as well as to the smaller goals. Once we have completed these steps, we can then move on to the next step in the process which is executing our plans iteratively.
Executing Our Plans Iteratively
Everyday people everywhere make all kinds of plans. Unfortunately, there are several instances where even the most carefully laid out plans prove to be an exercise in futility. This is so because even though some of us make plans, we fail miserably in their execution. And if the plans are not executed properly, then we would have failed in accomplishing our intended goals.
Many persons start doing something and then stop somewhere in the middle without finishing what they had started. This is a sure recipe for failure. We must follow through with our plans if we are to become successful in achieving our financial goals.
The Lean Agile principle of “stop starting start finishing“, is a very good reminder to stay focused onthe task at hand till it is fully completed.
When Joseph made his plans to ensure that there was sufficient supply of food for the land, he had to follow through on his original intentions. Even though Joseph’s plans were for the long term (14 years), he followed through for the entire 14 years till completion. He didn’t change his mind or jump from one plan to the next. He executed to the end.
Even though we may find that our plans may change sometimes as we go along, we should make the necessary adjustments the press on to the finish line. If we give up midway, we are already defeated.
As we seek to achieve financial prosperity, we should follow some of the Agile Methodology Principles. When it comes to our finances, this may involve first seeking direction from God, establishing clear goals, breaking down these goals into smaller, actionable steps, then executing our plans iteratively.
There are 8 additional steps that we need to take in order to get to our intended financial destiny defined in Part1. Next week we will discuss steps 5 & 6 which are defining how our results will be measured and identifying accountability partners. So look out for next week’s article as we journey closer towards achieving our financial goals.