01 Dec What is an Action Plan?
An action plan is a checklist for the tasks you need to complete in order to achieve the goals you have set. It is an essential part of the strategic planning process and helps with improving teamwork planning. In not only project management, but also action individuals to prepare a strategy to achieve their own personal goals as well can use plans.
Components of an action plan include-
- A well-defined description of the goal to be achieved
- Tasks that need to be carried out to reach the goal
- People who be in charge of carrying out each task
- When will these tasks be completed
- Resources needed to complete the tasks
- Measures to evaluate progress
Why You Need an Action Plan
Sometimes many businesses do not spend much time on developing an action plan before an initiative, which, in most cases, leads to failure. If you not heard, “failing to plan is planning to fail” said Benjamin Franklin supposedly once. Planning help, you prepare for the obstacle ahead and keep you on track. In addition, with an effective action plan, you can boost your productivity and keep yourself focused.
Here are some benefits of an action plan that are given below:
- It gives you a clear direction. An action plan highlights exactly what steps to be taken and when they should be completed, you will know exactly what you need to do.
- Having your goals written down and plan out in steps will give you a reason to stay motivated and committed throughout the project.
- With an action plan, you can successfully track your progress toward your goal.
- You are listing all the steps you need to complete in your action plan, it will help you prioritize your tasks based on effort and impact.
- If you have no idea or you are not clear about what you want to do and what you want to achieve, you are setting yourself up for failure.
How to Write an Action Plan
From the looks of it, creating an action plan seems easy. However, there are several important steps you need to follow with caution in order to get the best out of it. Here is how to write an action plan explained in six easy steps.
Step 1: Define your end goal: – If you not clear about what you want to do and what you want to achieve, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Then write down your goal. In addition, before you move on to the next step, run your goal through the SMART criteria. In other words, make sure that it is
• Specific – well-defined and clear
• Measurable – include measurable indicator to track your progress
• Attainable – achievable within the resources, time, money, experience, etc. you have
• Relevant – align with your other goals
• Timely – has a finishing date
Step 2: List down the steps to be followed: – It is important that you make sure that the entire team is involved in this process and has access to the document. This way everyone will be aware of his or her roles and responsibilities in the project.
Make sure that each task is clearly defined and is attainable. If you have larger and more complex tasks, break them down into smaller ones that are easier to execute and manage.
Step 3: Prioritize tasks and add deadlines: –
It is time to reorganize the list of tasks that are prioritizing. Some steps, you may need to prioritize as they can block other sub-steps.
Add deadlines, and make sure they are realistic. Consult with the person responsible for carrying it out to understand her and his capacity before deciding on deadlines.
Step 4: Set Milestones:-
Milestones can consider mini goals leading up to the main goal at the end. The advantage of adding a milestone is that they give the team members to look forward to something and help them stay motivated even though the final due date is far away.
Start from the end of the goal and work your way back as you set milestones. Remember not to keep too much little or too much time in between the milestone you set. It is a best practice to space milestones two weeks apart.
Step 5: Identify the resources needed:-
Before you start your project, it is crucial to ensure that you have all the necessary resources at hand to complete the tasks. In addition, if they are not currently available, you need to first make a plan to acquire them.
This should also include your budget. You can be assigned a column of your action plan to mark the cost of each task if there are any.
Step 6: Visualize your action plan:-
The point of this step is to create something that everyone can understand and that can be shared with everyone.
There are your action plan comes as a flowchart, Gantt chart, or table, make sure that it clearly communicates the elements we have identified so far – tasks, task owners, deadlines, resources, etc.
This type of document should be easily accessible to everyone and should be editable.
Step 7: Monitor, evaluate and Update: –
Allocate some time to evaluate the progress you have made with your team.