What is an action plan?
An Action Plan is a document that sets out in detail how a particular goal is to be achieved. It is used to track progress toward achieving the goal and to make adjustments as necessary. An Action Plan usually contains:
- A list of tasks that need to be completed
- Details of who is responsible for carrying out the tasks
- a time limit by when which to-do must be completed
Optionally, an Action Plan may still include the following items:
- Resources required
- possible risks or obstacles
Action plans are often used in professional or organizational contexts to plan and track projects.
Why do you need an action plan?
An action plan is used to achieve a specific goal by identifying and tracking the steps necessary to accomplish the goal. It helps to identify all the resources needed to achieve a goal, prioritize their use, and set the schedule for each task. This allows for more efficient use of resources and better control over project progress. Breaking a large project into smaller work packages reduces complexity and increases visibility, making it easier to manage. This ensures that each task is completed on time. Action plans can also serve as a reference point for future projects and allow teams to learn from past successes and failures. Overall, an action plan helps achieve the goal faster and more effectively. It can also help keep everyone involved pulling together and focused on the common goal.
Especially when using Scrum or in agile software development, action plans can help with the structuring of tasks 😊
How is an action plan created?
An action plan is usually created in the following steps:
- Define the goal:
The first thing to do when creating an action plan is to precisely define the goal to be achieved. In doing so, it should also be determined when the goal is to be achieved.
- Determine tasks and responsibilities:
The next step is to determine the tasks that must be completed in order to achieve the goal. It should also be determined who is responsible for carrying out the tasks.
- Create schedule:
After the tasks are set, a schedule is created that indicates by when each task should be completed.
- Identify and provide resources:
This step identifies the resources that are needed and must be made available to achieve the goal. These include, for example, personnel, finances, materials, etc.
- Identify risks and obstacles:
This is followed by the identification of potential risks or obstacles that could impact the achievement of the goal. These include, for example, imponderables that could jeopardize the project or external factors that could have an impact on the project.
- Finalize and implement action plan:
After all of the above steps are completed, the action plan is finalized and implementation of the tasks can begin.
It is important that the action plan be reviewed periodically and adjusted as necessary to ensure that the goal is actually being achieved.
What is a Corrective Action Plan?
A Corrective Action Plan (CAP) is a document that describes how a specific problem or deviation will be corrected. It is used to ensure that issues are resolved quickly and effectively and that such issues do not recur in the future. A Corrective Action Plan typically contains the following elements:
- A description of the problem or deviation
- The reasons for the problem or deviation
- The measures that will be taken to correct the problem
- The persons who are responsible for the implementation of the measures
- The time window in which the measures are to be carried out
- A process for monitoring and tracking progress in implementing the plan
A Corrective Action Plan is often used in quality management systems to ensure that products and services meet specific requirements and that non-conformances are resolved quickly and effectively. However, it can also be used in other contexts to resolve problems and ensure that they do not recur.
What advantages does an Action Plan offer you?
Here are all the advantages for you at a glance:
- It helps to precisely define the goal and determine the steps necessary to achieve it.
- It provides clarity on who is responsible for completing the tasks and by when they should be completed.
- Resources can be managed effectively and potential risks or obstacles are identified and managed in a timely manner.
- An Action Plan allows progress toward the goal to be tracked and adjustments to be made as necessary.
- It helps to ensure that everyone involved is pulling in the same direction and focused on the common goal.
- The action plan will help you achieve the goal faster and more effectively.