An action plan is a key component that is responsible for driving the success of any business project management. It defines which actions are to be undertaken, by whom and when.
What Is An Action Plan Template?
While creating a plan, you must know various significant points which need to be included within the same. Additionally, it must include a deadline, regarding the completion of a task. A well defined plan will be helpful in letting your team know their mistakes and various ways in which they can rectify the same.
A business action plan will have separate sections for listing out the final cost of a project at hand. Also, it will have various sections for filling out other details such as time required for completion of the project, number of team members etc. You can list various smaller tasks or sub projects in the exact order in which they are required to be completed. A template will be of immense help while drafting an action plan.
A project plan template will have adequate space to fill out all of these details. Such a template will have instructions listed to guide you at every step. You could assign various tasks to each employee and all these actions need to be noted within this template. When the project progresses, you will be able to note down the progress reported by each team member with respect to all of the tasks assigned to them.
Whenever two businesses or individuals enter into an agreement to complete a specific task, they enlist various points that will help them track their progress. Moreover, you can track that everyone involved in your project, is performing their task on time and delivering the expected results.
At the completion of your business project, you can even use this template to help you analyze the overall performance of your employees. This type of an action plan will allow them to finalize several crucial parameters, right from the start of a task until its completion. Set up a spreadsheet that will detail every action which is required to be carried out in order to attain the deadline for completion.
By creating a project plan, your business will be able to ensure that the entire project is completed on time and without any hindrances. Thus, you can offer constructive feedback for improvement in the future. Further, you can identify employees who have made incredible efforts and finished their tasks in a diligent way within the desired time frame.
How To Create An Action Plan Template For Excel?
These templates offers excellent means for developing a pathway that will help you to attain a particular business goal. You could easily download a template for free from the internet or purchase a template with advanced features. Most of these are comprised of Excel spreadsheets. These allow you to enter interim steps in order to help you achieve a specific goal.
Step 1: Develop A Plan By Clearly Outlining Your Business Goal
The first step in creating an excel action plan template, is to determine the final desired objective. Write down the final objective including the cost of the project and the time to completion. Next, break your goal down into path leading towards your final goal. The path must be created in numerous consecutive steps. You must assign a time frame and cost to each of the listed steps.
Step 2: Set Tasks For Every Member Of The Group
After developing your action plan, it is time to set tasks for every group member who will be responsible for contributing their efforts in making the plan an overall success. Every team member must know what others within the group, are doing in order to complete the goal. It is important that you ensure everyone understands their individual role as well as the role of their peers.
Step 3: Set A Time Frame For Task Completion
The next step is to assign a deadline for your assignment. Consider every individuals’ strengths and weaknesses. In order to successfully meet the set deadline, try to assign tasks which are most appropriate for each member within the group. Clearly outline the task itself as well as the final goal of your task. Include a time frame and deadline as well as the maximum cost of this
task. Thus, for each of these tasks, you must include a set of steps that are well sequenced. These must be then followed in order to successfully drive the task to completion.
Step 4: Monitor The Tasks Listed On The Template
As each task progresses and nears completion, they must be continually reviewed. Thus, the next step is to monitor every task in the action plan template. You should be aware where every team member is heading in their task. This will help you to assess if the expected timeline to completion is being met. You may find a step you initially expected to progress quickly, is actually taking longer than expected. If required, be prepared to re-prioritize tasks and alter the set timeline in response to unexpected roadblocks and delayed goals.
Step 5: Evaluate The Action Plan And Assess The Overall Performance
After the goals have been completed, you must consider going back to your action plan template and reviewing it. Make special notes of where the task got longer than expected. Assess and evaluate individual performances. Take note of specific strengths and weaknesses. Thus, you will get a better understanding of who is best suited for future tasks. It might be a good idea to evaluate your plans’ overall performance. Ask for your team’s feedback regarding what went as planned and what could be worked upon.
What Is A Smart Action Plan Template?
Wondering how to set a SMART Goal for your business plans? The acronym for ‘SMART’ is listed with 5 key characteristics. These traits will help you to set well-defined goals for your project or business. Listed below are the 5 features every business goal must possess:
4. Realistic and Relevant
Say your project goal is ‘To improve sales’. Here’s how you can make it SMART.
Step 1: Keep it Specific!
‘To improve sales’ is vague. How exactly do you aim to increase sales and to what extent?
Specific: increase sales by 30% through advertising and niche marketing
It will help if: You are able to enlist the identified actionable clearly
Step 2: Keep it Measurable!
How exactly will you know if you have reached your goals? What can you expect at the finish line?
Measurable: Sales will increase by 25-30%
It will help if: There is a defined point and a clear objective
Step 3: Keep it Achievable (Attainable)!
Here, you run your project goals through a reality check? Do you think you are prepared to offer the commitment, your goals will require? Have you set a highly challenging target which calls for more than what you are prepared to work for?
Achievable: The sales margin will increase by 30% within the next quarter
It helps if: Your commitment level and your goals are well matched
Step 4: Keep it Realistic And Relevant!
Some people tend to use the term ‘Realistic’, however the term ‘realizable’ sums it up better. More importantly, keep your goals relevant to your final business objective. If the goals are outdated or not practical, cancel or revise it.
Relevant: My sales target will improve in the next quarter by 30% is relevant to my goal of improving profitability and allocating additional resources towards product promotional strategies
It will help if: You are motivated and not struggling too much to reach your objectives.
Step 5: Keep it Time-Framed!
What is a reasonable time period for achieving your goals? You must maintain a balance between being overtly ambitious that could lead you to failure and aiming for too little causing you to put minimal efforts. Track your progress as per the decided date for goal and sub-goal completion.
Time-Framed: – Sales will increase by 30% in the next quarter- by January 1 2014.
It will help if: Your time frame is not too short or too long. It should be just enough to sufficiently challenge, energize and motivate you (often, you will require a few series of sub–goals as well)
Thus, you can truly optimize your chances of goal success by following a SMART Goal. To actually boost your probability of reaching the desired outcome, here’s a list of questions you need to ask yourself at the time of planning your goal-setting activities.
1. What resources (funds, things, information and people) are required to achieve the expected outcome?
2. How much time needs to be scheduled per activity?
3. What milestones need to be rewarded along the way of progress?
4. What rewards do you plan to give for completing those milestones?
Follow the above listed points and you will be well on your way to attaining all your goals! The questions listed above, will help you to move from the planning and strategy stage into the action stage.
How To Develop An Action Plan Template?
You can create an action plan in the MS Word or Excel template. Use these templates to identify which plan to accomplish what you require to prioritize in your business and how you can share these objectives. The template includes excel spreadsheets to help you organize your business planning activities.
You can develop the xls action plan template in the following manner:
1. Scope The Larger Picture – Outline what you wish to accomplish with budget, objectives and time for each deliverable as an actionable step.
2. Break The Final Task Into Smaller Tasks – Consider the deadline while allocating various resources, at the time of assigning tasks to the team members.
3. Create A List Of To-Do Actionable Steps – For every task, prepare a comprehensive list of to-do tasks. These should be ranked in a sequential order.
4. Prioritize The Tasks – Few steps will be more important than the others. Hence, you must prioritize these steps based on the set deadline, tasks involved and the overall final objective.
5. Schedule Tasks Into Sub-Components – This means breaking down your overall goal into sub-goals. When these sub-goals are pieced together, they will make up your overall goal. A few sub-goals will need to be further broken down into a series of activities, due to their complexity. These set of activities will require to be accomplished.
6. Communicate And Complete The Deadlines On Time – Share the plan with the team members who have been assigned tasks. Estimate when these tasks will be finished based on the speed of action steps completion. Track results and evaluate performance by implementing a continuous monitoring procedure. This will help ensure that your project remains on track by following the below steps:
i. Breakdown of the sub-goals.
ii. The determination of activities to be accomplished within each sub-goal.
iii. The identification of activities/tasks for every sub-goal.
iv. Sequencing of activities/tasks by prioritizing.
v. Mind mapping by providing a list of activities and the associated sub-goals.
vi. Sequencing tasks involves prioritizing them in a systematic way by assigning a start and end date.
vii. Other considerations for your task completion involves resources and manpower required.
In other words, an action schedule template will look something like: Activity Start And End Date; Responsibility; Duration; Resources etc
Where To Download Free Action Plan Template For Business Development?
XLS and XLSX files work with Microsoft Excel program and other distributions such as Open Office. These programs will essentially help you in creating and managing spreadsheets. You can use these action plan templates to identify which plans to accomplish for your business, how you need to prioritize your actionable and how you plan to share these objectives.
Excel spreadsheets are one of the easiest spreadsheet programs to use. After downloading the free template, take your time and understand it carefully. The sooner you begin using your free plan template, the better you will understand how it really works.
Basically, a project plan is available as a free download as MS Excel templates and spreadsheets. These include budget templates, calendar templates, schedule templates as well as financial calculators. Listed below are a few websites that allow you to download action plan templates for free:
With a wide array of templates available online for free, be sure to look for the one that will suit your project needs. There is no point in using a plan that has not been designed to meet your business requirements.