You’ve found a solution to your business’ problem! That’s great! But how do you action this grand solution? Here’s a foolproof step-by-step guide to actioning your Development Action Plan.
1. Express your solution as a series of goals
When you agree on a solution to a problem, you first need to define that solution in terms of number of goals and objectives. For example, each goal could be expressed as follows: “For us to… we would need to…”
Record each goal at the top of a whiteboard or sheet of paper.
2. Generate a list of Actions for each goal
Use brainstorming to compile a list of actions to achieve a particular goal and record these below the goal. Arrange this list of suggested actions in sequential order.
3. Prepare a timeline
Beginning with a time point labeled ‘now’ and ending with a point labelled ‘goal achieved’, build a timeline on which you allocate dates by which you intend to complete each of the sequential actions listed under a particular goal. It is important that you get both sequence and timing right if you are to reach ‘goal achieved’ effectively.
4. Allocate resources
Financial, physical and human resources must be allocated to each action step. If resources are limited, or fall short of requirements at any stage, it may be necessary to return to an earlier step and revise the action plan.
5. Identify possible problems
Consider all of the things that could go wrong in the process of achieving a particular goal. List these problems and identify causes and suitable actions to resolve them. If necessary, these actions might need to be added to appropriate slots in the timeline.
6. Develop strategies for monitoring progress
List ways in which progress of the action plan can be monitored. These monitoring stages should also be included on the timeline.
7. Assign tasks
Take each point on the timeline in turn and ask: ‘Who will do what, by the date set, to bring about the specified action?’ Allocate these tasks to appropriate individuals or teams.
8. Estimate costs
Give consideration to any expenditure required to complete the task. All costs will have to be taken into account when preparing a budget. If funds are not available, tasks will have to be reviewed and, where necessary, revised or eliminated.
9. Implement the plan
Translate all your information to a clean copy, listing the actions required, the person responsible for a particular task, and when that task is to be completed. Having now finalized the plan for action in specific terms, this information can now be made available to all involved.