You have a goal. Let’s say you need to print a document. Now, for a goal this small, you probably won’t require a plan which will outline all your actions from clicking the print command to collecting the printed documents. But if this goal were to start a printing company from scratch, there would have been a big necessity of putting down what all needs to be done, who all are responsible for the same, what all resources are needed to complete it, and how long will it take.
We call this activity as creating an action plan.
What Is An Action Plan?
An action plan or a plan of action is a detailed plan which outlines all the actions required, all the people involved, and all the resources required to complete a certain task or to accomplish a certain goal.
It breaks down the task into actionable steps according to the given resources and timeline and makes it easier to measure the progress as all the actions are planned in chronological order or in a connected way.
Importance Of An Action Plan
An action plan plays a vital role when it comes to working with a team on a long-term project. It not only simplifies planning by stating what needs to be done but also identifies the measures of success for better control.
- Clarifies The Objective: An action plan clarifies the objective and clears the doubts regarding what needs to be achieved by whom, thus resulting in more efficiency.
- Prioritizes For Better Workflow: The action plan focuses on prioritizing the activities and interim goals to give a better understanding of what requires more attention than others.
- Set Milestones: Different milestones are set which act as interim goals. This results in more efficiency as the resources and manpower are spent on completing one goal at a time while moving towards the final goal.
- Efficient Resource Distribution: The action plan efficiently distributes the resources according to the need of the moment which results in reducing wastage.
- Creates A Sense Of Ownership And Accountability: A sense of ownership and accountability is built among the team members as work is efficiently distributed according to their capabilities and everyone is given a goal to achieve.
- Identifies Measures Of Success: Since the action plan includes interim goals, it becomes easy to measure the growth or success at any point of time.
How To Write An Action Plan?
Writing an action plan isn’t an uphill struggle all you need to do is divide the goal into small interim goals, assign them to the team members according to their capabilities, and set milestones and timelines for better control.
Specify Your Goal
The first step of developing an action plan is to define a goal and have a clear view of what needs to be achieved. Different factors need to be considered in this step like the importance of the goal and the available timeframe and resources you have to work with. This eventually leads to developing a deadline before which you’ll try to achieve this goal.
Create Interim Goals & Action Steps
The next step of creating an action plan includes dividing the goal into several interim goals or milestones which are further divided into action steps.
Assign Action Steps & Set The Priority
Once the action steps are planned, they are assigned to different team members or different groups within the team. Once assigned, each action step is prioritized according to the need of the situation.
Develop Milestones And Timelines
A start and an end date is also assigned to every action step. This simplifies most of the process as everyone now knows what is desired from him/her and before when it needs to be done.
The action plan is updated as soon as one of the interim goals is achieved. This involves setting up new priorities and assigning new duties to the team members to get the work done fast.
Action Plan Example
Now that you know about the components of an action plan, here’s an action plan example to further explain the topic and clear doubts on how to write an action plan.
In this action plan sample, the goal is to organise a startup conference. This goal is divided into four interim goals which are further divided into different action steps. These action steps are assigned to the team members according to their capabilities. Priority, start date, and end date are assigned to each of the action steps to make things more smooth and clear to everyone.
Action Plan Template
Here’s an action plan template which you can use to create detailed action plans irrespective of the time period to achieve the goal.
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A startup consultant, a dreamer, a traveller, and a philomath. Aashish has worked with over a 100 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.