When multiple minds approach a single problem, you get solutions that work.
In a busy organization dealing with many issues, think about how powerful it would be if everyone worked together to find solutions.
Out of the many approaches, the one that works well is the Start-Stop-Continue exercise. Why is it important?
Well, there are three reasons–you must start applying innovative approaches, stop wasting resources on inefficient processes, and continue successful practices to achieve your organizational objectives.
Whether you struggle with planning, innovation, operational efficiency, employee engagement, or crisis response, the answer lies in brainstorming and answering these three questions.
Seems easy enough? Well, it’s a little more than that, and we will get into the details of the meaning, elements, benefits, and the right ways of implementing the Start-Stop-Continue framework.
- What is the Start-Stop-Continue Framework?
- Benefits of Using Start-Stop-Continue Retrospectives
- How to Implement a Start-Stop-Continue Framework
- Run Start-Stop-Continue exercises with ClickUp
What is the Start-Stop-Continue Framework?
The Start-Stop-Continue (SSC) framework is a simple but effective tool used in various fields such as business, personal development, project management, and team-building exercises. It’s designed to help individuals or teams reflect on their actions, behaviors, processes, or strategies by categorizing them into three main areas: things to start doing, things to stop doing, and things to continue doing.
Gathering feedback isn’t just a formality—it’s a way of showing your employees that you value their opinions and ideas. But the best results come from making it a group effort. That’s where the Start-Stop-Continue framework helps. It brings your team together where everyone gives their input to tackle three aspects:
- First up, what should you start doing? Identify the activities that align perfectly with your goals. This sets the stage for proactive initiatives that contribute to overall success
- Next, what needs to stop? Hit pause on activities that no longer bring value. This strategic decision frees up space for endeavors that genuinely matter
- Lastly, what should you continue? Identify those actions that silently win over even the most challenging tasks. It’s about recognizing and amplifying what’s already working
Create a thriving and happier workforce with these three. It’s a shared language, making it easy for leaders and team members to dissect and improve performances.
Elements to the Start-Stop-Continue Retrospective template
Now that we have told you why you should start, stop, and continue, let’s make these elements more straightforward:
Begin by identifying fresh initiatives, practices, or processes that you should introduce to boost productivity or address emerging challenges. It involves both technical and behavioral aspects.
For instance, delegation of work could be better in your organization. There’s a lot of confusion, and deadlines are often missed. That’s your cue to incorporate project management software for enhanced communication and task tracking. Let’s say multiple team members are working on different aspects of the project.
Clickup Tasks help you create a centralized project space where you define each task clearly, assign it to responsible members, and give a deadline. This approach proves especially helpful when managing more significant projects like a company event, where delegation is crucial.
Consider the following example, where you assign tasks to relevant members and categorize issues based on their status–those currently under review, those in progress, and tasks that are completed and ready to go live.
On the behavioral front, commence regular team-building exercises that help organize a collaborative workforce with boosted morale.
Next, eliminate activities or processes deemed ineffective, redundant, or hindering progress. It allows teams to shed elements that may be holding them back.
For example, your entire team follows a time-consuming manual report generation process. Stopping it altogether and switching to an automated system is the key here. However, it’s not just report generation that requires automation.
Streamlining every routine task in your business that consumes significant hours is crucial. For instance, manually adjusting project statuses, assigning tasks, or applying tags becomes cumbersome, especially when dealing with a large team.
ClickUp Automation helps you automate these tasks and integrate seamlessly with essential tools like Dropbox and Slack. All you need to do is select the actions/tasks you want to automate.
To ensure your manual workload becomes minimal, we have 100+ automation to your rescue. We bet you would never go back to wasting hours on routine tasks anymore!
In this step of the Start-Stop-Continue framework, you acknowledge and reinforce successful and effective practices to make the process easier. It’s about sustaining activities that contribute positively to your organization’s goals and outcomes.
For example, a specific communication channel has significantly contributed to keeping everyone within the team informed. It provides real-time visibility into projects and keeps everyone in the loop. Even the new hires find it incredibly easy to use.
Update task statuses, share important files, and provide detailed comments. Therefore, everyone is informed of the current state of tasks, milestones, and roadblocks.
You need to continue using it as it provides such transparency and collaboration. Similarly, if specific process management methodologies have consistently given results, you can apply the same in future projects.
Benefits of Using Start-Stop-Continue Retrospectives
Regularly conducting Start-Stop-Continue assessments lets your team stay agile and responsive to evolving project requirements and industry changes.
Consistency is the key here, which leads to the following benefits:
Benefit #1: Extract actionable feed
What’s better than dry, dull, and redundant feedback?
Actionable feedback that improves core processes.
Let’s consider a scenario where your company is grappling with a high turnover of new hires. In such a situation, who better to consult than those employees who have chosen to stay?
Suppose they suggest improving the onboarding manual with a video series. Or they recommend replacing recorded sessions with mentorship programs and setting the right communication goals.
You implement these changes and notice that incorporating employees into the company culture is easier than ever. And if collecting feedback is often a hassle for you, consider using a feedback template as shown below.
Rate your current onboarding process and give suggestions for improvement with this template. This makes it easier to keep the feedback intact and use it for other purposes.
Once you collect and store feedback, do things that will help you achieve your objectives, dismiss behaviors and actions that aren’t helping, and keep doing things that take you closer to your targets.
With this, you achieve immediate objectives and cultivate a mindset where teams consistently refine their approaches.
Benefit #2: Identify and work on areas of improvement
Regular Start-Stop-Continue assessments equip your team with a sharp lens to identify specific areas of improvement within your processes.
For instance, consider a scenario where your team relies heavily on email communication. From a leadership perspective, you might perceive this as an efficient way to disseminate information.
However, through a Start-Stop-Continue assessment, a team member may express concerns about the delays and potential misunderstandings caused by using emails, especially for urgent matters. Here’s how a team member might point out this gap using the Start-Stop-Continue framework:
- Start using a collaborative platform that offers frequent updates
Feedback: “I’ve noticed that important updates and urgent messages often get buried in email threads. Using a collaborative platform like ClickUp, Slack, or Microsoft Teams would be more effective. These tools provide a real-time feed where urgent messages won’t be missed, and the team stays updated without sifting through numerous emails.”
- Stop using emails for urgent communication needs
Feedback: “Emails are not the best medium for urgent matters. It’s easy for important messages to be overlooked or lost in a crowded inbox. We should consider stopping the use of emails for urgent communication and encourage the team to use instant messaging on the collaborative platform for time-sensitive matters.”
- Continue conducting regular team meetings for better clarity on projects
Feedback: “I appreciate our regular team meetings; they provide a space for project discussions and clarity. Let’s continue this practice as it ensures everyone is on the same page. However, we can use these meetings to address challenges faced due to email communication and explore ways to make the transition to a collaborative platform smoother.”
That’s just one example of how the Start-Stop-Continue framework helps optimize workflow. With this framework, tackle outdated or underutilized technologies, customer service gaps, product development strategies, etc..
Motivate teams and individuals to improve workflows
The Start-Stop-Continue model encourages teams to identify new practices or behaviors that enhance workflows. Whether adopting new tools, implementing innovative techniques, or introducing efficient processes, this approach motivates your team to find better ways to accomplish tasks.
Let’s look at another scenario to understand this better:
A marketing team consistently faces challenges in meeting project deadlines and notices a decline in the effectiveness of their social media campaigns.
Using a Start-Stop-Continue process, you can:
- Incorporate a social media tool to improve planning and execution
- Recognize that spending excessive time on manual data analysis hinders their efficiency, and discontinue this practice
- Opt for an automated analytics tool to save time and focus on more strategic decision-making
- Acknowledge the success of their weekly brainstorming sessions and commit to continuing this collaborative approach
As a result of these adjustments, team members feel motivated to get started. The new social media scheduling tool they decide to incorporate eases their workload and aligns with industry best practices.
How to Implement a Start-Stop-Continue Framework
To ensure your team reaps the benefits of the abovementioned start-stop-continue exercises, here’s a straightforward process of implementing the Start-Stop-Continue framework.
Step 1: Start with clear goal-setting
When implementing the Start-Stop-Continue model, you need a clear direction for identifying new practices, benchmarks for evaluating existing practices that you need to discontinue, and a basis for reinforcing successful practices.
That’s where setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals helps.
Instead of a broad aim like increasing sales, focus on a particular product or service. Then, dive into quantifying these objectives for a precise evaluation. During this process, involve all the key stakeholders, such as sales representatives and marketing teams.
For example, here’s what a well-defined objective might look like:
Identify actions to start, stop, or continue in our digital marketing strategy to achieve a 25% increase in sales for Product X by the end of this quarter.
Set specific team goals to help your teams continuously improve in achieving them. And if goal tracking is something your team often struggles with, then the Clickup Goals feature helps.
Once you’ve identified areas for improvement (Start), actions to be discontinued (Stop), and practices to be continued (Continue), ClickUp Goals allow you to translate these insights into specific team objectives.
For example, if ‘improving communication channels‘ is identified as a start initiative, set a goal in ClickUp to enhance team communication effectiveness.
It also allows you to visualize and track multiple goals in one dashboard. Keep all your crucial objectives in check with measurable targets and automated progress tracking.
Step 2: Choosing a Start-Stop-Continue template
Now that you’ve set specific goals, it’s time to collect your team’s feedback with clarity.
While you can juggle with Excel sheets and Word docs, we suggest exploring some of the best Start-Stop-Continue templates to categorize, analyze, and assign tasks. And let’s not forget the visual representation that makes it easier to provide feedback and understand every area.
But the essential lies in choosing the right Start-Stop-Continue template, focusing on the following:
- Clear representation using rows, categories, and elements like sticky notes
- Beginner-friendly design to ensure your team easily adapts to the feedback model
- Adaptability to various business scenarios, from eliminating bottlenecks to enhancing communication and onboarding new employees
- Intuitive design that facilitates the creation of actionable plans and task assignments
- Capability to transform collected data into valuable resources, such as how-to guides
While you may find many options that fulfill one or the other areas, Clickup’s Start-Stop-Continue template covers everything mentioned above and more!
With just one glance at the entire board, you gain insights into what’s beneficial and what’s not. This template goes beyond the basics, providing a comprehensive view of your team’s core activities through valuable data.
Let’s take a scenario where you plan on enhancing your content creation and marketing strategy. Using the template, identify and mention the following:
- Start exploring video content creation: In response to the growing trend of video consumption, start implementing video content into your strategy. This suggestion leads to someone thinking of an action-oriented reel or short video content idea. Before you know it, you’ll have many sticky notes with creative ideas
- Stop using a specific keyword: If you notice that a particular keyword no longer resonates with your target audience or is not performing well in search engine results, it might be time to stop emphasizing it. At the same time, some other phrases or keywords that don’t garner attention will come out. When you make it a team exercise, you get all these results faster.
- Continue leveraging engaging blog posts: If your team has consistently produced blog content that receives positive feedback, continuing this successful strategy is essential. To build upon that, your team members might also suggest topics that garner consistent engagement. Therefore, you know what more needs to be produced and posted
As we see above, the template doesn’t just get the ideas out there; it also gives your team the space to think and build upon other’s ideas.
Step 3: Conducting a brainstorming session to fill in the template
The Start-Stop-Continue template is more than just a survey conducted to collect feedback. The whole point lies in gathering input from collective discussion and improving your team’s performance.
That’s where running a brainstorming session where different teams put up their point of view to come to a common conclusion helps.
For example, some experienced staff members might be content with your existing tools, whether for project management, data analytics, or other tasks. However, other team members, especially the new hires, may struggle to grasp these tools effectively.
What if these concerns aren’t directly brought to your attention? Instead of employees quietly leaving the organization, it’s essential to encourage them to voice their thoughts. Gathering feedback helps you explore better alternatives or implement training to simplify your tasks.
Although meeting rooms and Google Meets are suitable for gathering feedback, having a tool that visually communicates, coordinates, and links your virtual and in-office teams is crucial, especially when the remote work scenario continues to grow.
Let’s say your team is working on designing a new marketing campaign. Use this space to gather ideas and visualize your campaign strategy. You will love how various team members can sketch out concepts, add sticky notes with their thoughts, and collaboratively build upon each other’s ideas.
So, if your top marketing experts are halfway across the globe, there is no need to fret. Quickly gather and implement your best ideas with the right tools.
Step 4: Action plan after feedback analysis
Now that you’ve got the key points, it’s time to make a practical action plan to address this feedback. To do this effectively, let’s clearly define those critical points from the brainstorming session—challenges, opportunities, or trends.
Here are some examples to understand this better:
Feedback: Your team members want to initiate regular brainstorming sessions to enhance collaboration.
Action plan: Schedule weekly brainstorming meetings to encourage idea-sharing and collaboration. To ensure your team puts out their best ideas, have a tool that allows them to brainstorm effectively from wherever they want.
ClickUp Whiteboard is a space that invites creativity. With sticky notes and connectors, you ensure every idea gets the space and attention it needs. When presented rightly, the ideas are executed as they should.
Also, let’s be honest: it’s a fun way of discussing ideas compared to the routine Google Meet sessions your team attends half-heartedly. (Spoiler alert: the camera is off, and so are their minds.)
Feedback: Using a particular communication tool is causing confusion and hindering collaboration.
Action Plan: Cease the use of the current communication tool. Look for a platform that helps you communicate with transparency. Tag individuals or teams to ensure you give the right directions with features like @mention.
Next, while chatbox discussions are incredible, you need a visual representation of your work to ensure your team follows through. ClickUp Dashboards gives a complete view of everything happening in your workplace.
The customizable cards also help you provide the kind of information you need out there. When progress is rightly tracked, guess what follows—collaboration.
However, before switching to another tool, as business leaders, you must implement a trial period and gather team feedback.
Feedback: Team members appreciate the weekly progress updates that are currently in place.
Action Plan: Maintain the practice of providing weekly progress updates. Consider enhancing the format based on specific suggestions to make the updates more informative and engaging.
Use a weekly report template highlighting the task, department, and task type. Remember that it’s always easier to analyze with visuals before our eyes. So, here’s one that helps:
With that in check, here’s what your short-term, medium-term, and long-term plan will look like:
- Immediate Actions: Start scheduling weekly brainstorming sessions and communicate the change in communication tools
- Medium-Term Actions: Gather feedback on the new communication tool after a month and make adjustments as necessary. Implement improvements to the format of progress updates
- Long-Term Actions: Monitor the impact of changes over the next quarter, solicit ongoing feedback, and adjust strategies accordingly
Ensure you continuously monitor the progress as you proceed with your action plans. But merely monitoring is not enough. A lesson-learned template will help you document and analyze your project’s successes and failures at every point.
Run Start-Stop-Continue exercises with ClickUp
Well, one thing’s clear from the above discussion–a lot is involved in running Start-Stop-Continue exercises.
- set goals,
- brainstorm ideas with your team,
- fill in the Start-Stop-Continue template,
- create action plans, and
- keep up with the progress
Is one template enough to run these exercises successfully? Maybe. But your work will flow like never before if you implement an all-in-one solution like ClickUp that helps you with goal setting, brainstorming, progress tracking, and let’s not forget our neat Start-Stop-Continue template.
- ClickUp Goals will help you set clear objectives for your Start-Stop-Continue exercises. That’s where you ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the purpose and desired outcomes of the assessment
- Then comes the ClickUp Whiteboard for creative project brainstorming
- To help you sum it all up neatly, we have our Start-Stop-Continue template to fill in the details during the exercise
- Use Whiteboards during the Start-Stop-Continue exercise to visually present ideas, feedback, and action plans
- And in the end, keep track of your performance–all within ClickUp
If you are intrigued and want to know more about how ClickUp helps you streamline your processes, contact our team today!