Action Plan – Concept, characteristics and how to do it

We explain what an action plan is in the business world, its function and characteristics. Also, how to make an action plan.

action plan
An action plan determines objectives and the resources necessary to achieve them.

What is an action plan?

In the business world, an action plan or strategic plan is known as an administrative or management tool, through which an organization (or, sometimes, an individual) chart the best way to achieve your goals. These are complete and detailed plans, at different levels, in which specific objectives, the resources necessary for their fulfillment and finally the activities necessary to turn them into reality are determined.

The best way to understand an action plan is as a roadmap, that is, a diagram of how to achieve the proposed goals: just as there are multiple paths to reach a destination, it is also possible to choose different paths to meet the objectives of the organization.

The importance of this type of tool is that organize efforts and allow proper planning, which reduces the margins of error and the potential waste of energy and resources. In addition, these plans comply with the premise of segmenting a larger problem into small and achievable goals, moving inadvertently towards the global goal, and avoiding paralysis.

Characteristics of an action plan

There is no single way of being of action plans, since they tend to be adapted to the situation and needs of each organization. However, in very general terms, any action plan is characterized by:

  • Based on the defined objectives, he proposes a possible path (or several) towards success (long term), breaking it down into smaller units and achievable in the short and medium term.
  • It must have a high level of detail in terms of the description of the actions necessary to achieve the objective: necessary resources, estimated time, priority tasks, etc.
  • It is specific, insofar as responds to a certain situation; Should the real picture change to some extent, the action plan will need to be changed as well. Otherwise, you will be in the field of improvisation and unforeseen events.
  • It is usually accompanied by graphic representations or visuals, such as flowcharts, schematics, flowcharts, etc.

How to make an action plan?

While there is no single way to develop an action plan, it is possible to break it down into six main steps that must be completed for the action plan to be appropriate. And these are:

  • Define the objectives correctly. The proverb says that the wind never blows in favor of those who do not know their destiny. This means that if we do not know what we want to achieve, it will be impossible to really achieve success. So the starting point of any action plan will always be to set achievable, concrete and specific goals in the long, medium and short term.
  • Plan and choose strategies. There are many possible paths towards the same goal, and in order to choose the one that best suits our needs, our rhythms and our resources, we must first consider all possible paths. Once the count is done, we can gradually discard those that are not useful or that are not feasible, until we find our most appropriate strategy.
  • Define tasks and rank them. A strategy is nothing more than a possible route, that is, a path outlined in the abstract, and that when put into practice will result in a set of specific tasks. These tasks range from obtaining missing resources, organizing and using them, to reviewing or controlling for decision-making. It will be important to define what are the necessary tasks to comply with the strategy and then rank them as urgent, important and common.
  • Build a Gantt chart. Also known as the “Gantt chart”, this tool will help you define the start and end times of each task, as well as the time periods necessary for its review. After all, no task can be put off indefinitely.
  • Appoint leaders and managers. Every organization implies a hierarchy, that is, a chain of managers who must coordinate and push forward each task. It is not about appointing bosses, as much as delegating authority so that there are no “bottlenecks” that slow down decision-making.
  • Execute the plan. The final chapter of any plan is, of course, to get down to business. This implies not only complying with what is established in the plan, but also reviewing through control and supervision dynamics that the designed plan has been correct, and if it is not, being able to correct it in time.