Whether it’s for a meeting or for team task management, you need some documentation to know what work needs to be done, who is tasked with executing it, when it’s due and so much more.
Download our free action items for Excel to make it fast and easy to identify and execute those tasks. Don’t be caught off guard when taking minutes in meetings—our action items template will help you never miss out on a critical assignment.
What Is an Action Item?
An action item is a task that needs to be completed. Like any task, an action item is limited in scope and takes, at most, a couple of weeks to complete. Action items often arise from a meeting where small jobs come up over the course of discussion.
An action item at its most basic is broken down into three components: who, what and when.
- Who: the person responsible for executing the action item
- What: a short description of what’s to be done
- When: the deadline
The action items template is similar to the to-do list or a calendar of tasks: the difference is that the action item list can go into greater detail and also track the work as it moves through its life cycle.
Why You Need an Action Items Template
Our action items template captures all the information you need to answer the who, what, when of the task. The template can also go into further detail about how important the task is, potential issues and how to resolve them if they arise.
Again, if you’re in a meeting and the task comes up, our action item template is there, so you can define the end goal and the steps required to accomplish it. The action items template also allows you to prioritize the tasks if there are a large number of items. Once you have the basics down, you can use the action item template to identify the needed resources. There are columns to monitor, evaluate and update to make sure the work is being done in a timely fashion.
When to Use an Action Items Template
This action items template is an ideal tool to have with you when in a meeting as new tasks come about through discussion. Use it to collect these new tasks like a checklist to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks and are completed.
But this action items template can be used for anything that involves the execution of a task. It can be used as a personal list of the work you have to do, or it can be applied like a task list in a project. While in the latter case project management software is more dynamic, if you don’t have such a tool, then an action item template can organize your project work.
If you want to collaborate on your action items and track progress, costs and resources, upgrade to project management software. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based tool that connects your task list to live dashboards, Gantt charts and more. Want to stick with a task list? Our list view also allows you to collaborate with everyone on the team in real-time to get things done faster. Plus, monitor the percentage complete for each task, see its priority, due dates and add attachments without leaving the list.
Who Should Use an Action Items Template?
This action items template can be used by anyone, from the minute-taker to the project manager. The use of the action items template changes, however, as the tasks on it are executed. At this time, the owner of each individual task is responsible for using the action items template and updating their progress.
But there is not a hard rule here. The action items template could also be held by the project manager or someone working under them. As tasks are updated, they can report to that person, who then updates the template. This should keep everyone on schedule.
How to Use ProjectManager.com’s Action Item Template
Our free action items template for Excel is easy to use and has all the fields you need to fill in to make sure you capture and complete your tasks. It’s also completely customizable, so you can add or delete what you need or don’t need.
The top of the template identifies the project, describes the project and notes who the project manager is. The information is important to help track the work, especially if your organization is working on a program or portfolio of projects.
Action Item Details
The meat of this action items template is underneath the project information. It is divided into a row for each of the action items and then columns to identify specific aspects of the action items. There’s an action item ID, which makes it easier to refer to it later on, as well as the date the action item was opened and a description of the work to be done.
Next, there’s space to identify who the action item is assigned to. This is the person tasked with completing the work. You can add what department they work for, which is especially helpful if you’re in a large organization.
Next is a pulldown menu for priority, so you know which items need to get done right away. This column is color coded to stand out.
What follows is the directions for executing the task. This should be a brief explanation. It can be step by step, but you don’t want to get bogged down in unnecessary details. Remember, action items are not full-blown projects. If need be, you can roll out an action plan.
The next few columns deal with any issues that might come up during the execution of the task. There’s always risk and here’s where to capture it. One column lists the issue and the next captures how to resolve it. When the issue is resolved, the final column is where to put that date.
There’s also a place to note the date the action item is closed. You can add the percentage complete and there’s a dropdown menu where you can note the status. You can change the status from one of more than a dozen options or make your own. Finally, there’s a place to add notes that are not appropriate for any of the other columns.
How to Use the Action Items Template with ProjectManager.com
Action items are tasks and tasks are executed as part of a plan that assigns, tracks and reports on the progress of getting that work done. Once you have your action items template started, you can take it to the next level with ProjectManager.com, an award-winning tool that organizes your work for greater productivity.
List Action Items on Different Project Views
The free action items template is a great but static tool. With our software you can create and work on your tasks on a Gantt chart, task list or kanban board. From all of these project views you can onboard your team and assign them the action item. Plus, it’s easy to import your existing action item list into the tool to get started right away.
Track Action Item Status on Dashboard
Once assigned, you can track the progress and performance of the owner of the action item. Because our tool is cloud-based, once someone updates their status that data is instantly available across the entire software. Use the real-time dashboard to track progress from a high level, with metrics such as time, variance and more.
Collaborate With Your Team with Cloud-Based Software
Action items aren’t done in a vacuum. With our collaborative platform everyone can communicate and get the job done better together. Users can attach files and images, comment on the action item and even tag people who aren’t assigned to the action item and bring them into the conversation.
Other Templates to Help With Action Items
If you’re not ready to upgrade to project management software, we offer dozens of free templates that can help you manage your action items. Try the following templates to get your action items done by their due dates.
Executing an action plan requires a plan. With the free project plan template you can list your action items and manage the resources necessary to complete them. Schedule your work so you get it done by the deadline. List assumptions and constraints, scope, milestones and more.
Similar to the action items template, the free action plan template provides a framework to figure out how to get those action items completed. The template allows you to order your action items and avoid missing any critical steps necessary to getting them done.
If your action items aren’t as involved you can use our free to-do list template to get them done. This template helps you organize your work and keeps it all in one place. It allows you to prioritize that work, add the due dates and nothing is more satisfying that crossing out a task once it’s done.
Related Action Item Content
Get help with planning and executing your action items by visiting our substantial library or project management resources. We have hundreds of blog posts, videos and guides to walk your through all your project management questions. Here are a few selections.
- How to Make an Action Plan (Example Included)
- 6 Plan Templates to Get Your Project Started Right
- 8 Steps for Better Issue Management
ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based tool that keeps you on top of your action items, letting you plan, monitor and report on their progress. With features to manage costs, teams and all project resources, it’s the only tool you’ll ever need to get your work done on time. See why tens of thousands of teams are already using our software by taking this free 30-day trial today.