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How to Measure Your Action Plan Results

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 2/14/2011

When you don't need to outline an entire project, you might create an action plan. Action plans are meant to solve specific problems companies experience. Successful action plans have measurable results. Learn how to develop a system of metrics and how to measure your action plan results here.

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    Action Plans and Why Learning How to Measure Action Plan Results is Important

    Learn how to measure your action plan results to ensure success Sometimes there is a problem in your business that needs to be solved, but it doesn't require enough steps such that you need to create a project in order to solve it. When this happens, you need to create an action plan. Action plans are less intensive than projects, but that doesn't mean you should neglect the planning aspects. One important aspect relevant whenever you create plans is the development of metrics for your plan. It's not enough to ensure your action plan has been set up properly. In order to truly understand whether or not your action plan was successful, you'll need to know how to measure your action plan results.

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    1. Define the Metrics for Your Action Plan Results

    Before you can measure anything, you're going to need to know what it is you are measuring. Define the metrics for your action plan results and how you will measure your action plan results. The best metrics for any endeavor are those items that are, in fact measurable, reportable, and meaningful. When you are determining how to measure action plan results, you'll need to first get clear on what the results are that you want to measure. Next, determine how you will measure those results.

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    2. See Where You are Prior to the Action Plan

    Imagine your action plan involves having a net profit of $5,000 for the month. In order to get there, you're going to need to know where you currently are. Once you have determined what the results of your plan should be and what will be measured, you should determine where you are at. There's a big difference in having a net profit of $5,000 for the month if you start out with $4,500 from starting with only $1,000. In fact, your end measurements are likely to determine part of your plan based upon where you are when starting the plan. If the action plan is to gain 3 customers a week, over a month's duration (a total of 12 customers), your action plan will look different if you are just starting out from if you already have a customer base of 100. By getting clear about where you are, it will be easier to see how you need to proceed to get where you are going.

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    3. Determine When Measurements Will be Gathered

    If you are only gathering measurements at the end of the action plan, that is fine; but consider also gathering measurements in the interim period during periodic milestones. For example, if your aim is to lose weight, generally you weigh yourself once a week at roughly the same time of day. This way you know whether you're on track. Similarly, you'll want to know you're on track in your action plan. Designate a specific period that will elapse between each time you gather measurements for your action plan results.

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    4. How to Measure Your Action Plan Results

    Once you've determined what you're gathering, you know your base point, and you've determined when the measurements will be collected, you'll need to actually do the measuring. There are a few different methods for measuring your action plan's success. First, you could simply look at the numbers, should your intended results involve numbers. Alternatively, you could perform a survey, "Did my action plan to do X actually work? On a scale from 1 to 10, how satisfied with the results are you?" A third option for measuring results is to test the results. For example, if you were building a remote control car, you might test how fast it goes a set distance, or you may test how far it goes in a set time.

    Make sure that the data you collect are consistent with one another. When you collect data during the planning phase, ensure that you collect data in the same manner and same units as you will when you measure the intermediate steps and ultimately the results.

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    5. What to Do with the Measurements

    Finally, once you've collected the measurements, you need to determine what you will do with those measurements. One action you may wish to take with your collected data is performing a data analysis. You don't need to get too fancy with this, but you'll want to check first whether you met the goals of your action plan. Second, if you did not meet your goals, you'll want to investigate why you did not meet your goals. Finally, If further work is needed, you will need to create recommendations for your next action plan.