How To Create Action Plan? Effective & Expert Guide To Follow
December 2, 2022
Any company that wants to achieve a goal or develop a project must create an action plan. But how do you create an effective and relevant action plan? What are the different steps in creating an action plan? What are the benefits of the action plan? Discover in 10 minutes how to make an optimal action plan!
An action plan is a fundamental document within companies. It allows you to define a step-by-step strategy in order to achieve a concrete, realistic objective with a deadline. Three steps are required as part of the action plan. It must first be developed, then implemented and finally established regular monitoring.
The action plan allows a company to solve particular problems or quite simply to achieve fixed objectives. The action plan can be global (generalized to the company as part of a structural or organizational action plan) but it can also be focused on a particular department of the company (marketing, sales, HR, etc.).
Generally, the action plan is mainly implemented in marketing. Indeed, being a vast and global universe, marketing defines several key actions to achieve sales and market development objectives, for example.
The action plan must include the final objective, the name and contact details of the project supervisor, the contact details of the collaborators involved in the projects (employees, suppliers, subcontractors, etc.), the funding body there is one, the person responsible in the event of a problem (accident, theft, etc.), the place where the project is carried out, the conditions for carrying out the project (conditioned on financing, for example) as well as the fundamental standards such as the confidentiality for example.
More generally, an action plan must include the activities and missions that will be carried out, the responsibilities generated by the action plan, the overall planning of the tasks with the associated deadlines (detailed schedule), the directives associated with the project ( methods of carrying out the tasks) but also the resources necessary and mobilized for the project. The action plan must also consider follow-up steps, so it can incorporate an additional follow-up plan.
The action plan can be developed in the form of an Excel table, allowing to have a global vision and a clear project follow-up. The best thing is to have a very detailed action plan (to the hour or half an hour if necessary).
The commercial action plan, also called PAC, is a document that defines the various commercial and marketing actions to be carried out in order to achieve commercial objectives.
The sales action plan is strongly linked to the marketing action plan, which is an action plan widely used by companies. Indeed, it makes it possible to carry out all the commercial actions of the company in order to achieve defined sales and notoriety objectives. It establishes actions to be carried out such as advertising, promotions, direct marketing, etc.
The action plan is an activity management tool. This allows a company to define according to its objective, the means necessary to achieve it while optimizing the tasks as much as possible in order to reduce the implementation time and achieve efficiency.
If the planning is well done, the company knows every day where it is in its project and can therefore adjust its action plan according to the progress of the tasks.
The action plan allows each employee to know what he must do and when he must do it. This results in a reduction in procrastination and therefore in limiting the loss of time.
The action plan allows:
To establish an action plan, you must first have a clear, well-defined and coherent objective. For this, different steps are necessary:
Brainstorming is an essential element in order to develop your most relevant ideas. Many ideas can emerge from brainstorming sessions, which will make it easier for you to define relevant objectives according to the context in which your business is located.
The ideal is to brainstorm with several people in order to develop ideas, to have several feedback on the ambition and the overall vision.
Once the brainstorming has hatched one or two main ideas, it’s time to come up with a main objective . For this, you can rely on the SMART method(Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound). The SMART objective allows you to define a coherent and realistic objective.
Indeed, the objective must be defined clearly and specifically. It must also be measurable in order to be able to evaluate it and establish a regular follow-up of the tasks, but also be ambitious enough to have a real impact for your company and challenge your employees. Second, it should be a realistic, time-bound goal.
Once your objective is defined, you will have to concretely establish your target (if your objective has one, which is generally the case when it comes to a commercial enterprise). Defining your target allows you to adjust your actions accordingly. For this, it is possible to create personae (created person representing our target customer): gender of our target, age, professional situation, income, place of purchase of the product, etc.
After establishing your goal, it’s now time to determine your needs. You must therefore make an estimate of your needs in order to achieve your goal. These needs will be temporal, human (how many people should work on this project, what types of profiles, should new profiles be recruited?, etc.), material or even financial.
Once our objective is defined, it is then time to create the action plan.
To begin the action plan, it is ideal to specify the context and the issues involved in carrying out the action plan. It is then necessary to clearly define the final objective to be achieved and for what purpose it must be achieved.
This allows all the collaborators involved in the project to understand its challenges and why each of the actions has an essential meaning within the project.
As its name suggests, an action plan must detail all the actions to be carried out. The objective is to list all the actions that will have to be carried out in order to achieve the final objective. These different actions can be distinguished according to their priority or their stake. Indeed, priority management is essential to effectively manage the tasks and resources implemented. This allows us to focus on priority tasks in order to build our project in a coherent way, but also when creating the task schedule.
Each action must be detailed to a minimum in order to understand the full stakes of the task. Indeed, the action plan will be used by all collaborators involved in the project, so it must be clear and understandable for everyone.
For each action, one or more employees will be involved, so they must be identified and included in the action plan.
You can also include a manager for each action, someone who will be in charge of overseeing the action.
For each of the planned tasks, you must detail the means used to do it. Indeed, each action must provide resources (human, financial, material, technical) for its successful implementation.
Thanks to precisely allocated resources, each actor of the task will know the “limits” not to be exceeded with regard to the quantity of resources to be used. This makes it possible to stay within the budget and the means initially set, without exceeding the forecasts.
For each action, it is necessary to establish a temporality, that is to say the expected duration to carry out an action as well as its deadline. But also its repetitive nature, if it is a recurring task on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis, etc.
Specifying the duration or recurrence of a task makes it possible not to forget it and to be fully productive during the allotted time.
In order to be on the same wavelength as your collaborators, you have to clearly define what you expect for each task . For each action defined in the action plan, it is necessary to specify the success criteria of the task, in accordance with what the manager of the action plan wishes.
If for example, within your action plan, you have to produce 1000 chairs as a furniture producer, you must specify this value. Similarly, if your goal is to produce 1,000 chairs, but you already have 100 in stock, you must include it in the action plan so that employees know that they have 900 chairs left to produce.
You can apply this method to any task in any industry. If your action is to optimize management tasks by halving the time it takes you. You can set up a system to automate part of the tasks, however, without specifying the time it takes you, it is impossible to know if in the end, you have really reduced your processing time.
The action plan calendar makes it possible to define its deadlines in order to have visibility as to the achievement of the set objective. This makes it possible to manage the execution of the project from its start date to its end date, in a clear and orderly way.
This is an absolutely essential element in achieving our objective, which makes it easy to monitor the project and adjust actions according to the results and progress of the project.
The action plan can materialize in the form of an Excel table for example. Indeed, it is a simple and accessible way to use and understand an action plan.
It is a very good project management tool , which allows you to have a clear view of the distribution of actions, the associated dates and the progress of the project. Each project actor can use this calendar to know their tasks and objectives, identify any delays or problems and have visibility on everyone’s actions.
To be successfully implemented, the action plan must involve employees, inform them regularly about the progress of the project, be realistic with regard to deadlines and simply and clearly detail each of the tasks to be carried out as well as the expected results.
Follow-up is very important in the realization of an action plan. Indeed, it makes it possible to note the good realization of the tasks just like the problems which can arise. This allows the action plan to be continually readjusted based on results, delays, errors, etc.
Without regular monitoring, it is impossible to achieve your goal correctly and on time. It is therefore an aspect not to be overlooked and rather considered as an asset.
Making an action plan has several advantages:
Finally, the action plan is an essential tool for companies that want to evolve and achieve specific objectives. The action plan is used to steer the activity of a company and to put in place the resources and actions necessary to achieve the objectives in an optimized way in order to be as efficient as possible.
The creation of the action plan must be done in a thoughtful and constructive way so that it is truly an effective tool. The action plan must also be subject to regular monitoring in order to be able to anticipate certain problems and readjust actions according to the results and progress.
Thanks to the action plan, your company will be more efficient, optimize its resources and anticipate possible problems. In addition, you will gain visibility, avoid oversights and your employees will have an accentuation of their motivation thanks to a common objective to be achieved.