How to Make an Action Plan

ProjectManager.com

What is an Action Plan? Generally, it’s a proposed strategy or course or action. Specifically, in project management, it’s a document that lists the steps needed to achieve a goal. That is, an action plan clarifies what resources you’ll need to reach that goal, makes a timeline for the tasks to get to that goal and determines what team members you’ll need to do it all. Jennifer Bridges explains more.

Related: How Managers Use Software to Make Winning Action Plans

project planning fundamentals

In Review – How to Make an Action Plan:

The benefits of an action plan are simple: you have now outlined what course and what resources are needed to reach your stated goal in the project. By having this all collected in a document, you can more successfully plan out how to achieve this.

Related: Free Action Plan Template

Jennifer noted that often people get overwhelmed by jargon when having to plan out a project, but the word action everyone can understand.

She broke down the fundamentals to getting an action plan together for any project, which follows these four basic steps.

Step 1: Create a simple planning template to collect tasks, deadlines and assignments. This is the place where everything task-related goes in your project action plan, so you have a place for all this crucial information. 

Step 2: Use a tool to keep you on task. That can be as simple as a sheet of paper or a digital template, like a spreadsheet, but there are more robust options available, like task management software, so you’ll want to research and see what’s best for your project plan. 

task management software for action plans
Task management features in ProjectManager.com—Click to learn more!

 

Step 3: Onboard everyone into that tool so it works for the team. Make sure the team knows how to use it. Whether that’s a meeting on process or a more structured training session, you want everyone able to use the tool before they start working on the project. 

Step 4: Step up alerts that work to help you become more effective. Automate a lot of the busy work so you’re free to do the more hands-on management. Alerts are a great way to keep you abreast of the project’s progress without constantly pulling you away from your other duties. 

The alerts can be used to notify changes in tasks and if any have been added, and there’s always a need to manage tasks better. They can also note the completion of a milestone, which is a major phase of the project. Finally, alerts can act as notes for feedback on tasks, documents and more.

Once you got an action plan, how do you work with it to run a successful project? Some tips Jennifer suggested to help with implementing your action plan included:

pm software for making action plans

Step 1: Focus on priorities and what is due now

Step 2: Mark completed tasks complete

Step 3: Assign someone to every task

Step 4: Discuss pending or last tasks

Getting a plan together is only the first part of managing a project. Remember, it’s not something to write and put away, but a living document that should follow you throughout the life cycle of the project.

Pro-Tip: Once the action plan is done, the team is going to have to manage their tasks. One of the best ways to keep them on track and you aware of their status is by getting an online PM software tool that reports in real-time.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription:

Today, we’re talking about how to make an action plan. What I’ve learned in working with some teams is that the word “Gantt chart” or “project schedule” or “project plan,” can just seem too overwhelming.

But it’s hard to refute the term “action plan.” I mean, we all have to take action in order to get the project done. So, today I wanna talk about a few fundamentals and a few tips to build an action plan.

So, first of all, you wanna create a simple template to save time. So, what’s in the template? When you’re creating an action plan, you wanna know what is the action step? When is it due? And who is it assigned to?

We also wanna use a tool to keep you on task. By using a tool, a specific online tool that everyone’s using, then everyone has access to online and real-time data.

And number three is you wanna onboard everyone into the tool, so that it works for everyone and not just a few people. By having everyone committed to using the same tool, then you ensure that you have real-time data that everyone can access.

The fourth one is to set up alerts that work to help you become more efficient. Well, these are some things like tasks. By having alerts on when tasks are added or changed, it helps you become more efficient in what you’re doing, helps other people on the project be alerted to the changes. Also, when milestones are completed, that way, everyone knows when major things have occurred or completed on the project.

And then notes. Notes are great for collaborating on tasks or even documents, say, like your requirements documents or some other documents that are important for the project.

So here are a few tips.

Number one: focus on the priorities of what is due now. That way, people, or team members, don’t get overwhelmed by looking at all the things that are done, but they get focused on “Let’s get these completed now.”

Number two: mark completed tasks as completed. That way, you don’t have to keep looking at the same tasks. They’re already finished, done, completed. Get them out of the way, so you don’t keep looking at them.

Number three is assign someone to every task. You wanna be sure that you know who is accountable for every task. And that way, if you have questions, something’s not getting done, you know who to go to.

And number four is discuss pending or late tasks. You wanna be sure that you find out when there are barriers or reasons why some things aren’t getting done. Sometimes they need you and your help to get things done.

So, these are the fundamentals and a few tips to help you make your action plan. And if you need a tool that can help you manage and track your action plan, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.

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