Once an Action Plan is in Place, It Should Not Be Changed

business strategy plan

Everything in our routines requires a plan, whether you want to go out with a friend, switch a job, or launch a new business, you need to plan first. Similarly, organizations have action plans following the project plan. Some people believe once an action plan is in place, it should not be changed. 

So, they do not have a plan B or C and trust their initial plan religiously. On the other hand, others think you must have a backup plan if the initial action plan does not work.

So, is it true that once an action plan is in place, it should not be changed? Let’s discuss it in detail in this article.

What is an Action Plan?

An action plan is an important project management and strategic planning component. It allows you to create a strategy or step-by-step process efficiently to achieve particular goals.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines an action plan as “a detailed set of instructions to follow to solve a problem or achieve something.”

Thus, action plans help you break down the main goal into smaller, simpler, and trackable steps. They may seem like to-do lists, but are more organized and oriented toward a major goal.

Besides organizations and project management, you can also devise action plans for your individual progress. They help you track your growth and fix issues that hinder progression.

Importance of Action Plan

While the main debate is whether once an action plan is in place, it should not be changed or should be, there’s more to action planning. Individuals new to the concept of an action plan often wonder, “I can do the task without a plan.” Yes, it might work for you for a particular task. However, an action plan helps significantly improve productivity and give better results.

Some of the main advantages of preparing an action plan include:

  • An action plan ensures a goal-driven workflow, so you know what comes next
  • It keeps you motivated to achieve the next step
  • Tracking the progress is easy and promotes efficient working
  • You are less likely to forget any important step as you have already put them together
  • Having a properly designed action plan improves productivity

Components of an Action Plan

Before we discuss if once an action plan is in place, it should not be changed, do you know the components of one? Understanding the factors will also give you an idea about the possible changes in the action plan if you should make them.

Designing an action plan requires you to understand your goals in order to create a suitable strategy. You must also consult your stakeholders to avoid ignoring their needs or suggestions. 

A detailed action plan comprises everything from the goals to the resources and duties of each responsible person. It allows a smooth workflow without disturbances and confusion.

Here’s everything that a complete action plan must have:

Objective: The objective is the most important part of an action plan as it influences all other components. Everything from the resources to tools and steps depends on the goal you want to achieve.

Timeline: Once you are clear about the achievable objectives, you must decide on a timeline to achieve the goals. Furthermore, every step must have a deadline to track progress and ensure you complete the project on time.

Steps: Now, the main element of an action plan is the process or steps. Every step in the process contributes critically to the overall success of the action plan. They break down the project into manageable parts to simplify and quicken the process.

Resources: An action plan typically involves multiple steps requiring various tools, software, and labor. Consider these factors when designing an action plan so a lack of these resources does not hinder the progress. 

Matrix: If you want to ensure everything goes smoothly, creating a matrix is the perfect idea. It helps you lay out each step, resource, and responsible person categorically based on priority status. 

Reports: Reports are vital to an action plan as they allow you to track the project’s progress. They are also helpful when analyzing the most productive individuals in the action plan. Furthermore, reports allow tracking and monitoring to help you decide if once an action plan is in place, it should not be changed.

How to Create an Action Plan?

Define Your Goals

As mentioned, realizing and defining your goals is the first step to creating an action plan. An action plan might not give desired results until you don’t know what you want to achieve.

However, the goals must be realistic and achievable. It is best to follow the SMART principles of defining your goals. The goals must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable 
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

List Down the Tasks

The next thing you need to get out of your way are the tasks. Penning down the tasks will help you realize the resources and labor you need to carry out these tasks. Break down the overall action plan into smaller tasks you can divide among the team.

Put Down the Steps

Next, prioritize the tasks according to their urgency and flow. For example, what takes more time should be done first so the team can immediately start. Prioritize the tasks according to the project needs and create a step-by-step process.

Add Deadlines and Set Milestones

Each step of the process must have a deadline for smooth workflow. This also keeps the other team members in check as they know which task is completed and what they need to deliver their progress. Ensure that your team members comply with the deadlines without delays.

Consider Resources

Mention the resources required for each step of the process and ensure availability. This must be done before you start working on the action plan. The unavailability of resources might hinder your project’s progress.

woman writing a planning word

Allocate Responsibilities

Once you have everything in place, it’s time to allocate responsibilities. Put a name next to each task and deadline. It is better to conduct a meeting after creating the action plan to eliminate confusion.

Monitor and Improve

Do not forget the reports when you complete the action plan and the team starts working on it. Ask for weekly reports or per your requirement. It keeps the project’s advancement in check and allows room for improvement. 

Once an Action Plan is in Place, it Should Not be Changed: True or False?

Some team leaders are quite rigid in their plans and have unrealistic expectations from the team. Let’s say you created an action plan two months back for a project. However, it is not entirely feasible now due to changes in the circumstances. 

Action plans are thoroughly planned, with each process step properly defined. Thus, the need to change an action plan is rarely there. So, once an action plan is in place, it should not be changed is true?

While action plans are usually fool-proof, sometimes circumstances may require you to change the plan. You can modify the action plan after thorough thought in such situations. 

The Bottom Line

Action plans are an important part of project management. They allow you to have a structural, well-defined plan to break the project into smaller goals and obtain them timely. Action plans have multiple components such as the goals, resources, matrix, reports, etc. Some team leaders believe that once an action plan is in place, it should not be changed. However, others mention that action plans are flexible and adjustable. Action plans must be designed carefully so they do not need frequent modifications. However, if the plan requires changes due to the circumstances, you must be flexible and modify it per need.

FAQs

What is the purpose of brainstorming during an action plan?

Brainstorming with your team can help you create an effective action plan. It helps bring different minds to one table, each with different ideas. Some of these ideas might help improve efficiency by creating more easily achievable goals.

How do you maintain an action plan?

Maintaining an action plan requires you to stay in touch with the team and track the progress. You can identify loopholes and offer immediate solutions to ensure everyone achieves their milestones on time.

What is the first thing a student should do when developing an action plan?

Whether you are a student or a team leader, developing an action plan and understanding your goals is the first step. Understand your end goals and create short-term and long-term SMART goals for further action.

What is the objective of the action plan?

The objective of an action plan is to allow you to break down a bigger goal into smaller, attainable, and measurable goals. You can work towards each smaller goal that eventually helps you achieve your main objective.

How do you set goals in life?

Setting up goals requires you to first identify if your goals are realistic and achievable. Break your personal goals into short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goals should eventually contribute to your long-term goals.


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