Having an action plan is essential for achieving goals effectively and systematically. It gives us a clear direction on what we need to do in order to achieve certain objectives. It provides direction when we feel lost or overwhelmed in the project that we're currently in, and helps break down a complex task into smaller, more achievable goals. Using an action plan helps with progress tracking as it's easier to identify which tasks have been completed, giving a sense of accomplishment and progress. This, in turn, leads to higher motivation to see the task through to the end. Action plans also help with task prioritization, ensuring that deadlines are met with less stress, and important aspects of the objective are completed before less vital ones.
When drawing up an action plan, we recommend using a template. We've adapted a business presentation template into an action plan guide that you can use when coming up with an action plan. Having a template helps by giving you a clear idea of what aspects of the action plan you should consider first, and guides you through the process of drawing up a solid plan. By using a business presentation template, you can also share this with your co-workers so that everybody on the team is on the same page with regards to how they should be approaching a particular task. So what are the various parts of the action plan template? Let's take a more in-depth view of each.
This page is self-explanatory. When choosing a title for your action plan presentation, consider something that is concise and descriptive.
When drawing up an action plan, it's important to consider various vital aspects and priorities of the project. Identify which goals are most important and are critical to the success of the entire project.
Once these goals have been identified, they need to be ordered in relation to strategic importance. We suggest using this slide to determine the overarching goals of the project in order of how critical they are to the success of the project, and then clarify and break these strategic goals down further in the following slides.
Strategic goals need to be broken down into measurable, specific objectives. Outcomes objectives specify the desired results of the action plan. When drawing up these objectives, keep in mind that objectives and goals should follow the S.M.A.R.T principle and be:
- Specific – the goal should be clear and easy to understand. Try and condense goals into small tasks that leave no room for misunderstanding.
- Measurable – there should be some method of measuring progress within a given goal.
- Achievable – goals shouldn't be aimed high with a low probability of success. Rather, goals should be realistic and possible.
- Relevant – each goal identified should fit in with other goals to complete the larger task.
- Timely – goals should have realistic deadlines.
Process objectives look at what actions need to be taken to meet a goal. These process objectives should be complementary to the outcome objectives discussed in the previous slide. These objectives should also follow S.M.A.R.T guidelines.
An action plan is ultimately about the actions and tasks needed to achieve outcome and process objectives successfully. Think of tasks as small versions of process objectives, in that they refer to things that people will be doing during the day to achieve certain objectives. These tasks should follow a logical order that builds up into the completion of larger strategic priorities.
Some action plans can be done by individuals who will then be responsible for all aspects of the project. Others may include whole teams or departments. Having this slide in the deck ensures that all responsible parties know what their tasks are, and also who they should liaise with if the tasks are collaborative in nature.
Tasks can only be accomplished successfully in the correct resources are allocated to them. We recommend using this slide to identify the various resources that will be needed for the successful completion of the project. This slide can also provide team members with useful information about what potential resources they have available for them for them to meet their objectives.
The evaluation process is an essential component of any action plan. If you've designed your goals clearly, they will be measurable and relatively easy to evaluate. This provides a sense of progress during the implementation of the action plan, as well as a way to measure the success of the overall project at the end of the day.
An action plan is a very helpful tool when approaching a new or existing project. It provides clarity and understanding of how to tackle the project. We hope that our action plan template gives you the confidence you need to draw up strong plans that will achieve your goals effectively.