Are you planning to turn your dreams into reality? What do you think is the best way to overcome challenges and problems during this journey of life? A solid action plan, Right?
Be one amongst few who understands that everyone prefers their own “WHO does WHAT by WHEN,” is the primary component of any action plan. Thus, whether your planning includes strategies, initiatives, activities or tasks, when must be completed, so for all this a Solid action plan gives you the answers.
So what is an Action Plan?
Action Plan is a proposed strategy or course or action and also it is a tool in social planning. Precisely, in project management, it’s a document that lists the steps needed to achieve a goal in the given time. It considers all the details about the project and its execution. A written action plan also serves as a token for an organization’s accountability. Businessdictionary.com defines an action plan as a “sequence of steps that must be taken, or activities that must be performed well, for a strategy to succeed”.
What are the major elements of an action plan?
An action plan has three 3 essential and major elements (1) Specific tasks: what will be done and by whom. (2) Time horizon: when will it be done. (3) Resource allocation: Clearly mentions the source of funding and what specific funds are available for particular activities.
What does an action plan look like?
In particular, in venture the board, it’s a report that rundowns the means expected to accomplish an objective. That is, an activity plan explains what assets you’ll have to arrive at that objective, makes a timetable for the undertakings to get to that objective and figures out what project team members have to do.
What is the importance of an action plan?
Action plans help individuals comprehend what should be done to finish a task, initiative or project. An action plan by and large incorporates steps, achievements, and measures progress, just as obligations, explicit tasks, and a course of events. Action plan is a significant document which will be prepared before doing any project.
Who needs to write an action plan?
Action plans are useful in a variety of situations
- Managers can create action plans for their teams to achieve a long or short-term goal.
- Individuals can make action plans for themselves to achieve their individual goals.
In short, any time that someone has a goal or strategy but hasn’t planned exactly how you are going to accomplish it, writing an action plan can be more beneficial.
Why do we need an Action Plan?
- What resources you’ll need to reach that goal.
- Timeline for the tasks to get to that goal.
- What kind team members you’ll need to do it all.
- You know how one can track the progress toward the goal.
- You prioritize your tasks based on effort and impact.
Now, How to Write an Action Plan?
From the outer look, creating an action plan seems easy. But there are many important steps to be followed with caution to get the best out of it. Here is how it goes….
Step 1: Define Your End Goal:
If a person is not clear about what he wants to do and what he wants to achieve, he is setting himself for failure. One must start by defining where you are and where you want to be.
To start with, write down your goal initially. And before you go to the next step, run your goal through the SMART criteria.
Make sure that your Goal is,
- Specific : Well-defined and clear
- Measurable : Include measurable indicators to track progress
- Attainable : Realistic and achievable within the resources, time, money, experience, etc. you have
- Relevant : Align with your other goals
- Timely: Has a finishing date or a Deadline
Use this SMART goal’s worksheet to simplify the process.
Step 2: List Down The Steps To Be Followed:
Now once the goal is set and clear, what exactly is the step you take to realize it? Use this below Simple table to list down your task.
For instance, if this chart is being filled by the team, make sure that the entire team is involved in this process and has access to the document. In this way everyone will be aware of their roles and responsibilities in the project.
Also, Make sure that each task is clearly defined and is attainable. If you come across larger and more complex tasks while planning, break them down to smaller ones that are easier to execute and manage by every team player.
Step 3: Prioritize Tasks And Add Deadlines:
Reorganize the list by prioritizing the tasks, Put your goals in order of your priority, so that you can start with the most important goals first.
Now that you’ve set realistic time frames for your goals, you can create a timeline to achieve them. Set the Deadline. When we break down bigger goals into smaller steps, they feel more achievable.
Step 4: Prioritize Tasks And Add Deadlines
Before you start executing your plan, it’s crucial to ensure that you have all the necessary resources at hand to complete the tasks. And if they are not currently available, you need to first make a plan to acquire them.
Use SCHEMES to double check your action plan.
A SCHEME is an acronym that allows you to verify that you have everything you need to complete a plan.
It stands for,
Step 5: Take Action:
The only way to achieve goals is to do something. Actions are the building blocks from which you create one’s life.
Keep your action plan in a place where you can see it daily and refer to it regularly. You may also wish to place reminders or prompters around your home environment.
Step 6: Monitor, Evaluate and Update:
Allocate some time to evaluate the progress you’ve made with your plan.
You can mark tasks that are completed as done on this final action plan, bringing attention to how you’ve progressed towards the goal.
This will also bring out the tasks that are pending or delayed, in which case you need to figure out why and find suitable solutions. And then update the action plan accordingly.
Sometimes businesses don’t spend much time on developing an action plan before an initiative, which, in most cases, leads to failure. If you haven’t heard, “failing to plan is planning to fail” said Benjamin Franklin supposedly once.
Without clear goals and plans to achieve them, dreams and wishes remain just that dreams and wishes. When you set goals, you take control of your life and focus on what is important. You make improved decisions and better use of your time and other resources. Planning helps you prepare for the obstacles ahead and keep you on track. And with an effective action plan, you can boost your productivity and keep yourself focused.
Be the one who brings the change in the world! Accept challenges and stay positive.
Aslo Read : 7 Tips for upskilling to your progress
Advantages of action plan:
- Action plan allows the project manager or any member of a team firm to monitor overall project progress, execution systematically therefore allowing the team to handle the project in a systematic and in a most efficient way.
- Action plan is the touch stone to execute a structured plan to achieve the intended goal or objective.
- It creates a bond within a team.
- Each member is well aware about his individual role.
- Action plan provides necessary information to ensure success of the project.
In day to day life also you have seen an action plan. But we don’t call it an action plan because it is not a formal one. For ex: in family functions like wedding, naming ceremony before that event you will sit with your family members and chalk out all plans relating to total budget, food and beverages, decoration etc. Allocation of fund (resources), individual member’s responsibility, Team effort, time frame, common objective each points of action plan is present here. But, it is informal in nature.
Action plan is the foundation to do any project. In business there is a need for a systematic and well drafted action plan.
Sample Action Plan templates:
Business Action Plan: