Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

2.13. Develop a plan of action to achieve group / team goals

ryanrori February 7, 2021

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A team has to identify priorities.  Once this is done, you are ready to begin creating and implementing plans of action to address the priorities you have selected. 

Think about the process that this team would have used to create this plan. They would have followed these steps:

  1. Set your goals and objectives – what do you want to achieve?
  2. Think about how it will happen – What? Who? When? Why? Where? And How?
  3. Sequence the activities – in the order they should occur.
  4. Communicate your plan – involve everyone who will be affected.
  5. Implement your plan – carry out the activities/tasks required to achieve your goals. 
  6. Check progress – monitor and review your plan as you need to.

Action plans create accountability for performance improvement efforts. The plan is a tool your team can use to clearly define the “what”, “when”, “where,” and “how” of the project, as well as to monitor progress.

Getting Started

To begin creating the action plan, start by considering the roles and responsibilities associated with the plan. Who will do what, and by when

  • Who will be affected by the plan – customers, staff and stakeholders?
  • Who will approve the plan?
  • Who will be responsible for reviewing and monitoring the plan?
  • Who will be the “owner” of the plan? Do they have the authority to sufficiently advocate for the plan and all necessary resources? 
  • Who should be involved in the actual creation of the plan? What are the needed skill sets or experience of team members (i.e., subject matter experts, planning expertise, budget oversight, etc.)?

Next, brainstorm potential goals, objectives, and activities for each priority. Consider what strategies will be used to achieve the goals and objectives, as well as the resources (including staff, budget, equipment, and technical assistance) needed to carry out the plan. Think about the criteria that will be used to judge the effectiveness of the plan. How will you measure progress toward your goal? How will you ensure accountability?

Your team may use specific quality tools and techniques to assist in brainstorming potential goals, objectives, strategies, and/or activities for your plan of action.

Creating the Plan

Before creating a new plan of action to address a priority, the team should first consider whether there is an existing plan that can be modified. Modification of an existing plan can be as simple as adding activities that would make an impact on the priority.

The actual format of your plan may vary; however, it should include as many of the following components as possible: 

Goal Statement.  Desired outcome(s) for each identified priority.  Developing a clear and concise goal statement for each priority will ensure everyone on your team has the same outcome in mind as the team proceeds through the performance improvement process.

Sample goal statements:

  • Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables among 1st – 3rd graders in Sunshine County.
  • Improve service delivery processes. 

Objective.  Measures of success.

In order to create a clear plan of action, the objectives to reach a goal should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound)

Sample objectives:

  • Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables from two to three servings per day, per child by end of school year 2010-2011
  • Increase the percentage of service deliveries with no delays from 80% to 90% by January 30, 2012.

Strategies.  Specific approaches your team will use in order to achieve your goal(s).

Activities.  Individual action steps needed to complete each strategy.  The team should consider the following questions about the priority the plan is intended to impact when choosing strategies and the activities that will support them:

  • If the priority is a strength, what can your team do to sustain the success, or to further improve?
  • If the priority is an opportunity for improvement, what barriers can be identified?
  • Does your team have the resources (staff, budget, equipment, etc.) necessary to accomplish a proposed strategy or activity? If not, consider what steps are necessary to obtain these resources; these steps may be additional activities that can be added to the plan.

Sample strategies and activities:

  • Strategy.  Focus efforts on working with schools to increase fruit and vegetable consumption of students while on campus.  Activity.  Conduct a survey of current snacks offered in all 1st – 3rd grade classes.
  • Strategy.  Review organisational service delivery processes.  Activity.  Analyse current service delivery data for each area to determine process inefficiencies.

Evaluation Indicator(s).  Measure(s) of progress toward a goal or strategy.  These indicators ultimately let your team know if the plan was successful in affecting the priority. This may help you identify activities that are useful in meeting your objective(s), and those that are not. When considering possible evaluation indicators discuss with your team:

  • What will success look like? 
  • What outcome(s) are we working towards?
  • What will the evaluation schedule look like?
  • Are there data collection methods in place to find out how well we are doing along the way?
  • How will we know if we have made a difference?

Sample evaluation indicators:

  • 80 % of 1st-3rd grade classes have completed the healthy snack survey by March 30, 2010. 
  • 90 % of service delivery processes have been identified and mapped by June 1, 2010.

Lead role.  The team member that is primarily responsible for ensuring that the activity is completed.

Resources.  Financial, staff, equipment, etc. needed to accomplish an activity.

Timeframe.  Expected date of completion for each activity/strategy.

Status of progress.  Current description of status of completion.

Example template of an action plan

Strategic GoalStrategyObjectiveResponsibilityTimeline
1. (Goal #1)1.1 (first strategy to reach Goal #1)1.1.1 (first objective to reach while implementing Strategy #1.1)(who’s going to accomplish that objective)(when the implementer is going to be accomplish that objective)

The following is another example of an action plan:

WHAT needs to get done?WHO will be responsible (individuals)?WHEN does it need to get done (date)?WHO will need to be involved (people on my team, outside support)?WHAT types of support need to be in place (technical, financial)?

An action plan is a simple tool that will help you to work out:

  • what tasks need to be done to achieve a goal
  • who does each task
  • when they do it.

By developing an action plan you focus on what you want to achieve. You will also need to prioritise or determine in what order tasks will be done, when each task will be completed, how each task will be done, and how its achievement will be measured. 

Here’s an example of an action plan for a team:

Goal: To launch a new product in stores.

Item noActionWhoBy whenProgress
1Prepare the sales targetsJenny 30 Aug
2Prepare the staffing planDennis15 Sept
Recruit new staffDennis15 Oct
3Provide induction and product trainingIan 30 Oct