The First Step

Action Plan: The First Step

Implementing an action plan with measurable targets and time frames is the ONLY WAY to tell if you are having an impact.

Everything else is just a gut feeling and has no accountability. Many projects are evaluated only on the success of the project to be within scope, on time, and under budget. All projects should include these indicators as the minimal factors for success, but the true measure of a project’s impact is if the targets that are agreed to in advance are being met.

This can be hard to do if the project team has not determined targets or has taken the extra step of involving the stakeholders in this decision. If you haven’t involved your key stakeholders, do this now.  Then document the agreed-to goals and targets.

Completing this first step benefits the project throughout.  The project team should frequently review and assess how they are doing against these indicators, and make course corrections as needed.

With that, other key steps in the process include:
  • Project Governance –  Identify a key leader in the organization to sponsor the project.  This person is responsible for removing roadblocks along the way and guiding the project to success.  In addition, for complex, strategic projects, setting up a steering committee is important.  this will ensure the project remains aligned with organization’s goals.
  • The Project Charter – This is actually a part of the governance, but is significant on its own.  It  describes what the project will encompass and how it will be executed, as well as the goals.  It also describes project risks, assumptions, costs (hardware, software, tools, consultants etc..)  This then becomes the ‘contract’ for the project.  There are many examples available; my suggestion is to pick one and use it (for all projects) and customize it for your needs over time.
  • The Action Plan – or workplan uses this base of information as well as the project approach to detail the steps and assignments.  The project approach is important as it will determine the overall structure of the plan. Will this be a traditional waterfall project?  Agile Sprints?  Other? Each will dictate how you assemble the workplan and how you measure success along the way.

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