Action planning is a basic management function that involves creation of a detailed plan of actions or tasks to achieve desired goals with use of available resources. All managers have to carry out this function in order to be successful in everyday practice. And obviously any successful manager needs to use a kind of computer program that can help create action plans, set goals, track work progress, measure success, and report on results obtained. Such a program is called "action plan software".
In this article, you will explore what functionality is available in conventional action plan software, what benefits you can gain, and what specific solution you can use in everyday practice.
Functionality for effective action planning
In the software market there are numerous solutions for action planning, and so most likely it will be challenging for you to find the program of your choice. To address this challenge, first you need to explore and understand what functionality is available in the best examples of action plan software. Then you can review the features to find out if they can help you plan and manage your daily activities. And finally the package(s) which meets your specific needs at most will be the solution of your choice.
For your consideration, here are the necessary capabilities that ensure effective action planning. You can consider them to find the best solution:
- Planning tasks by date, priority, project, goal, or other required entities
- Sequencing tasks and sub-tasks to create action plans
- Creating schedules and user calendars
- Tracking work progress and action state
- Building analytic reports on performance
So, you need to consider all these options when selecting between software solutions for action planning. And don't forget to take the prices and licensing into account. We also suggest that you use the Web to discover the pros and cons of each specific program, read comments and suggestions of the actual users, and request support and advice from the developers.
After you have selected several candidates that meet your requirements at most, next you can try them out to check if they are really helpful in your business practice. Software developers usually provide free trial versions (e.g. 30 days of free use), so most likely you won't get in trouble with it. In case of necessity you can request a trial extension period - some developers or their vendors provide this opportunity for their trial users.
After you have tried and evaluated the candidates, the best solution will be the one from which you benefit most of all.
Benefits from action planning
With help of action plan software, you can accomplish your strategic goals in line with your initial expectations. It is a strategy implementation tool that lets optimize demands with available resources. In this regard, the key advantage of using action plan software is that such software facilitates goal achievement and strategy implementation.
Other benefits are as follows:
- Using various goal setting techniques (e.g. SMART) to identify and state objectives
- Formulating a detail path to goal achievement by using simple tasks, which can be prioritized and combined into action lists
- Estimating required resources (funds, labor, technology, others)
- Avoiding waste of time and effort and therefore optimizing workload
- Monitoring progress of all tasks and actions in their proper sequence
- Using various measures to analyze past, current and future performance
Besides, action plan software with simple and intuitive interface makes it easier for you to understand how to best use the features in your daily practice. You'll have to spend less time and effort on training, so simplicity and flexibility will be two more benefits you gain.
Taking into account all the mentioned features and advantages, we suggest CentriQS action plan solution which can help you manage activities in your everyday practice. For example, CentriQS features the Tasks view and the Scheduler view to help you create, schedule, and track your tasks and appointments. The program also features the Task Analytics view that lets you measure task performance with help of pivot tables and diagrams.
To benefit from CentriQS action plan solution, take into account the following suggestions:
- Use the Tasks view to manage your tasks. If needed, you can break down your tasks into sub-tasks. In such a way you will create action plans sequenced by predecessors and successors.
- Use the Scheduler view to schedule your tasks on user calendars. Also you can create appointments which are displayed on daily/weekly/monthly calendar.
- Use the Task Analytics view to measure task performance. For example, you can create a pivot table that shows all of your employees' tasks split by these time-related fields: "Estimate", "Remain", "Actual" and "Deviation". Your pivot table can be visualized with help of the Charts panel.