The Action Planning sheet is a tool for thinking through actions in respect of ensuring they will be effectively implemented. It is particularly useful where syndicate groups are looking at different things to implement, and where the wider group will review the outcomes.
The Benefits section is used to ensure that each group begins with what difference is to be achieved by the work. This is intended to overcome a natural tendency to describe projects in terms of what is to happen rather than what is to result – for example ‘Deliver a training programme on XYZ’. An example benefit might be that there is an improvement in the quality of the work done.
The Standards section builds on the benefits section by requiring that the group defines clear (unambiguous) criteria for determining whether success has been achieved. This definition of success means that it is easy to determining whether the work is ‘finished’ – not in terms of activity, but in terms of the intended results. An example standard could be that the failure rate of a particular component or activity is reduced by 50%.
The Team section is used to define who has the responsibility for delivering the benefits to the required standard, and who has responsibility for supporting them and in what way. This section is often overlooked by people, and the result is usually considerable delay. Clearly responsibilities need to be agreed with the people identified.
The Process section is used to define the key activities required to deliver the benefits. At this stage, these might only be an initial outline, but they are useful to provide some insight into what is likely to be involved in ensuring success and the timescales concerned.
The Measure section is used to define how success (and thereby completion) is to be objectively verified. The intention here is to describe a practical means for evaluating whether the standards defined above have been met.
The Learn section is not completed in the planning stage but is used by the team at the conclusion of the project to capture their thoughts on how their approach might be improved next time around.
Track your progress to ensure the efficacy of this strategy.