Today, planning is essential to coordinate all the activities of a company. It becomes particularly useful when it comes to implementing a digital transformation strategy. If there are several models or examples of action plansthe form, function and method used may vary. Find out how the development process works.
What is an action plan?
Presented as an internal document, this multi-phase plan is used to define in detail a strategy or strategies to achieve targeted objectives. The process, which consists of three phases (development, implementation and monitoring/evaluation of results), is intended to help a company make informed decisions by better setting its priorities, to make maximum use of its human and financial resources, and to take charge of the various problems and their solutions.
Regardless of the context in which it is implemented, a good action plan must always respect a detailed schedule. An overall budget must also be provided for the operation. This excellent planning and evaluation tool can be designed as an online table and printed on sheets, as a Gantt chart or as a simple text file. Excel and then printed on sheets, as a Gantt chart or as a simple text file.
How is an action plan developed?
An action plan has several components. It must be adapted to the context in which it will be applied and specify from the outset who will oversee the implementation of the action plan and who will be involved in the project (employees, partners, suppliers).
It generally includes a timetable, a list of priorities, a description of the tasks and the resources to be mobilized (human, material, financial, etc.) for all stages. Details such as the authorizations required to handle the remuneration arrangements, the name of the person responsible in case of loss, theft, or risk of accident must also be defined.
The environmental management of the project – which involves workplaces, traffic, access points, confidentiality, security, storage and waste management – are also part of this plan; as are the specific conditions for carrying out the project (contract, advertisements, loan requested and obtained, foreseeable risks, etc.). On the Internet you will find several sample action plans.
What are the benefits of an action plan?
Implementing an action plan has many advantages and adds value to a company. The management is able to monitor its various activities at all times and identify weaknesses that can be corrected in time.
It allows you to list the tasks to be done (so you don’t forget anything) and to foresee those to come. It helps to motivate staff by involving the responsibilities of each person in the teams formed.
It helps to avoid successive reframing of tasks that slow down activities, without forgetting that if you eventually have to apply for funding or grants, or if you have to find partners or make the case for a project, it is the action plan that will be asked of you first.
A tool to manage your action plans?
Communication and monitoring of your plan
All your employees should be aware of the phases of your action plan, its objectives and the role they will play in its implementation. Involve your teams from the beginning of the process; submit your timeline to them and be open to suggestions.
Ideally, document your action plan with notes, cards or tables. It is also a valuable tool for assessing a company’s available resources and capabilities.
Later on, you will need to adapt your plan according to new elements and issues that may arise during its development. Regularly organize information sessions and meetings to get feedback from your employees and inform them of your decisions.
How to ensure the success of an action plan?
First of all, by involving the employees concerned in the planning of the project itself. By preparing a clear, simple to understand and easily operational document. For its implementation, plan for realistic deadlines while taking into account possible constraints that could delay it.
Be careful not to spend too much time on the plan itself – this could hinder its implementation and development. Remember that it is mainly a steering tool to be adjusted from one phase to another, and not a finalized procedure.
The interest of using Excel in an action plan
A action plan on Excel is a very useful tool in the management of a company’s operations. The main function of Excel software is to calculate data quickly and efficiently, presented in the form of graphs, sheets or spreadsheets. If its method of operation remains the same, it is at the same time evolutionary, customizable and modifiable. The Excel action plan helps to automate tasks and establish links between data in the files; it facilitates their collection and processing.
The usefulness of an action plan is no longer in question. It transforms intentions into realistic objectives, while optimizing the potential of a company’s human and financial resources. Thanks to this plan, it is possible to obtain concrete, measurable and verifiable results for each of the phases of the project and for its entirety.