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Action Plans Overview

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 7/6/2011

We've written an entire series of articles devoted to Action Plans and how they relate to your overall Project Management needs. This is just the first in a series of articles surrounding Action Plans. In this introductory article, an overview of the topic is given.

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    What are Action Plans?

    Action plans are lists of any and all tasks that must be carried out in order to reach a particular objective. An action plan is not a project and it is not a to-do list.

    A to-do list may include many tasks to be carried out, but they are unrelated. A project centers around a group of people working towards a particular objective. An action plan is focused on one objective for one person, or for a very small group of people.

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    When are Action Plans Used?

    picture Action plans are used when it is not necessary to draw up a complete project. Writing a magazine article might constitute writing an action plan.

    Steps include:

    • Research
    • Outlining
    • Writing
    • Editing
    • Fact-Checking
    • Submitting the Article

    The article may require an interview or two, but it hardly requires a write up in a project management program. Action plans may or may not include deadlines but these deadlines aren't like project deadlines.

    Action plans involve more than simply saying "I need to write this article." They focus your attention on the steps that need to be taken, and they break the goal down into manageable parts. By taking the time to create an action plan for goals, you ensure the likelihood of that goal being realized.

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    Action Plans Series Overview

    This series of articles covers action plans from how to create an action plan to creating a project schedule management plan and tracking action items.

    It is important to remember when creating an action plan that you are not creating a project (although the two are related). Action plans are simpler and contain less detail than a project.

    An action plan is more of a blueprint than a foundation. An action plan can be created for one person or more than one person, whereas a project is created for a team of people.

    This series of articles will deal with action plans, action items, and small-scale project planning from a beginner's perspective. For more information on action plans, you may wish to view "Action Plan Techniques" at and "Small Scale Planning and Action Plans" from Mind Tools.

Action Plans

This series covers action items in project management.
  1. Action Plans Overview
  2. How to Create an Action Plan
  3. Action Items
  4. Action Item Tracking

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