Action Plan: What It Is?, Types, Characteristics, and How To Design It

Do you plan to turn your vision into reality? And what is your best way to avoid challenges and problems during this journey? A solid action plan. Whether at home or at work, we all have goals. And to get there, we need action plans to get started and stay productive. We explain here what an action plan is, its types and we describe 5 steps that explain how to write an action plan.

Definition of Action Plan

personal action plan is a checklist of steps or tasks that you must complete to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

It is an essential part of the strategic planning process and helps improve teamwork planning. Not only in project management, people can use action plans to prepare a strategy to achieve their own personal goals.

What does an action plan contain ? Components of an action plan include

  • A well-defined description of the objective to be achieved
  • Tasks/steps that need to be done to reach the goal
  • People who will be in charge of each task
  • When will these tasks be completed (deadlines and milestones)?
  • Resources needed to complete tasks
  • Measures to assess progress

The good thing about having everything on a list in one location is that it makes it easy to track progress and plan things effectively.

An action plan is not something set in stone. As your organization grows and surrounding circumstances change, you will need to review and make adjustments to meet the latest needs.

Types of action plans

There are three main types of action plans that we explain below.

Strategic

strategic action plan explains how you are going to make your strategy a reality. Take the purpose and goals you’ve outlined and add the necessary details to turn thought into action. An example of an action plan would be defining who has intellectual property on an initiative, when it is expected to be completed, what resources are needed, etc. This is your detailed roadmap of the journey you will take to reach your goals.

Creating an action plan gives you a clear guide to success. It helps prioritize goals, maximize resources, and make better decisions, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization as you execute on your strategy.

It can also help boost internal morale and public confidence. Employees will know exactly what they need to do to achieve the organization’s strategy, day by day and task by task. External stakeholders will have confidence that efforts are coordinated and purposeful, building credibility and transparency. And everyone can track results and monitor progress toward goals.

Commercial

The Commercial Action Plan is a document that allows the company’s executives to visualize all the commercial actions and helps them to verify that the choices and the results obtained are in line with expectations.

The business action plan should answer the following questions:

  • How do I achieve my business goals?
  • how much time to spend
  • what to sell
  • Who to sell it to?
  • How to sell it?

This commercial action plan must establish:

  • Goals that leaders want to achieve
  • Strategy to adopt
  • Vision of the company in 5 or 10 years and main objectives pursued
  • Details, objectives, human and financial resources to dedicate
  • Necessary actions to achieve the commercial objectives, in the form of tables taking into account the budgets and allocated resources.

Marketing

marketing action plan is a strategic roadmap that companies use to organize, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a set period of time. Marketing plans may include separate marketing strategies for the company’s various marketing teams, but they are all working toward the same business goals.

A marketing strategy describes how a company will accomplish a particular mission or goal. This includes what campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software they will use to execute that mission and track their success.

For example, while a larger plan or department might handle social media marketing, you might consider your work at Facebook an individual marketing strategy.

A marketing plan contains one or more marketing strategies. It is the framework from which all of your marketing strategies are built and helps you connect each strategy to a larger marketing operation and business goal.

Let’s say, for example, that your company is launching a new software product that you want customers to sign up for. This requires the marketing department to develop a marketing plan that will help introduce this product to the industry and generate the desired subscriptions.

How to design an action plan in 5 steps

From the looks of it, making a personal action plan for your business seems pretty easy. But there are several important steps that you should follow carefully to get the most out of it. Here is a tutorial on how to write an action plan in 5 easy steps.

1. Define your ultimate goal

If you are not clear about what you want to do and what you want to achieve, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Are you planning a new initiative? Start by defining where you are and where you want to be.

Solve a problem? Analyze the situation and explore possible solutions before prioritizing them.

Then write your goal. And before moving on to the next step, run your goal through the SMART criteria. Or in other words, make sure it’s:

  • Specific: well defined and clear
  • Measurable – Includes measurable indicators to track progress.
  • Achievable: Realistic and achievable with resources, time, money, experience, etc.
  • Relevant: Aligned with your other goals
  • Timely: has an end date

2. List the steps to follow

The objective is clear. What exactly should you do?

Create a rough template to list all the tasks to be done, due dates, and responsible people.

It is important that you make sure that the entire team is involved in this process and has access to the document. This way, everyone will know their roles and responsibilities in the project.

Make sure each task is clearly defined and achievable. If you come across larger, more complex tasks, break them down into smaller ones that are easier to execute and manage.

3. Prioritize tasks and add deadlines

It’s time to reorganize the list by prioritizing the tasks. You may need to prioritize some steps as they may block other sub-steps.

Add deadlines and make sure they are realistic. Check with the person in charge of carrying it out to know their capacity before deciding the deadlines.

4. Identify the necessary resources

Before starting your project, it’s crucial to make sure you have all the necessary resources on hand to complete the tasks. And if they are not currently available, you must first make a plan to acquire them.

This should also include your budget. You can assign a column of your action plan to mark the cost of each task.

5. Visualize your action plan

The goal of this step is to create something that everyone can understand at a glance and that can be shared with everyone.

Whether your action plan is in the form of a flowchart, Gantt chart, or table, make sure you clearly communicate the elements we’ve identified so far: tasks, task owners, deadlines, resources, etc.

This document must be easily accessible to all and must be editable.

Bonus: monitor, evaluate and update

Set aside some time to assess the progress you’ve made with your team.

You can mark completed tasks as done on this final action plan, drawing attention to how you’ve progressed toward the goal.

This will also highlight tasks that are pending or late, in which case you should find out why and find the appropriate solutions. And then update the action plan accordingly.

Advantages of action plans

Planning helps you prepare for the obstacles ahead and help you stay on track. And with an effective action plan, you can increase your productivity and stay focused.

These are some of the benefits of an action plan that you should know about;

  • It gives you a clear direction. Because an action plan outlines exactly what steps need to be taken and when they need to be completed, you’ll know exactly what you need to do.
  • Having your goals written down and planned out in steps will give you a reason to stay motivated and engaged throughout the project.
  • With an action plan, you can track your progress towards your goal.
  • Since you list all the steps you need to complete in your action plan, it will help you prioritize your tasks based on effort and impact.

Apps to develop your action plan

Here we present the best apps to design an action plan in your company.

Monday.com

monday.com is a cloud-based work operating system where teams create workflow apps in minutes to run their processes, projects, and daily work. Teams shape their workflows and projects, without code, with a platform that quickly adapts to changing needs.

Key Features:

  • Activity Register
  • Customizable fields
  • Due Date Tracking
  • mail updates
  • execution board

Asana

Asana is a work management solution that enables team collaboration and communication. Use Asana to manage initiatives, create projects, and then create tasks within these projects. Assign tasks to your teammates, add them as task followers, share, etc.

Characteristics:

  • activity dashboard
  • Activity Feed
  • Assignment Tracking
  • Automatic updates to inbox/email
  • Automation and rules

Wrike

Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management tool that helps users manage projects from start to finish, providing full visibility and control over tasks. The end-to-end solution takes projects from initial request to job tracking.

Characteristics:

  • api
  • Access control
  • activity dashboard
  • Activity management

Paymo

Paymo is a solution dedicated to marketing, design, creativity and advertising agencies, architecture studios, universities, law firms and consulting companies. It allows you to create and assign tasks, schedule work, and accurately track work.

Net Suite

NetSuite is the world’s leading cloud ERP solution. Designed to scale with your business as it grows and transforms, NetSuite helps you automate operations, efficiently streamline mission-critical processes, lower IT costs and complexity, and improve IT.

Action Plan Example

To better illustrate the importance of an action plan, here is an example of making a cake by putting it into an action plan.

Start with the priority of your tasks, for example, you need to make the base, but you may not need the powdered sugar on top as a finishing touch. Determine which tasks are high, medium, and low priority.

Once you have your priorities clearly mapped out, you should make a list of all your tasks, which would include things like deciding what kind of cake you’re going to make, the ingredients you’ll need, and supplies like a cake pan and baking utensils. There is the mixture of ingredients and the cooking time. All of these tasks should be listed.

Would you preheat the oven while making the pie crust? No. The base of the cake will probably be made the night before. That is why it is important to take into account all the phases of the project. You will also want to make assignments. You may want to get the whole family involved. Give each member a task, from shopping for ingredients to cleaning up.

Once you start the project, you will need to record the progress of the work being done. This brings us to the timeline, where you’ll have a start and due date for each of your tasks, as well as how long you plan it to take.

Finally, your action plan will include resources. Who is responsible for what task, what materials are involved? What are those costs? You should also have a section in the action plan for notes that don’t fall into any of the other categories.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational purposes only and has been developed by referring to reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.

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