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The importance of action planning is brilliantly illustrated by this quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit: “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” Dragons represent the perfect metaphor for known risks and pitfalls that we fail to take into account when creating an action plan due to various reasons. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Therefore, whether we’re talking about a marketing action plan, a development action plan or even a personal action plan, it’s important to cover all the bases. Here you’ll find some information to help you get started, but also an easy-to customize template for your action plan timeline.
The logical framework for any strategic action plan contains the following mandatory elements:
A visual action plan created as a timeline or Gantt chart can easily adapt to these specifications. The timeband determines the start and end dates for the project, tasks can be color coded and/or grouped into swimlanes to define their handlers, and milestones mark the critical points that need to be reached.
Timelines and Gantt charts are the perfect tools for this purpose, because they allow you to transform a complex set of data into an easily comprehensible visual action plan. How? By helping you to:
As of such, we recommend you start by selecting an timeline making tool capable of creating this type of project visuals. Granted, preferences vary wildly when it comes to data collating sources; for maximum versatility, the ideal action plan creator should come with timeline templates that you can download and start using right away.
The acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific Measurable Appropriate Realistic Timely, features selected to ensure that the action plan can be successfully implemented in practice. Creating a S.M.A.R.T. goals action plan implies choosing clear and feasible objectives relevant to the endgame that we can evaluate using certain metrics, each with a predictable life span. Even these criteria alone recommend adopting a timeline or Gantt visual to create the action plan and track its progress.
Every project is unique in terms of scope, resources and complexity, which is why our action plan timeline template is a high-level one. Its value comes from the breakdown of the process into 3 generic stages set against an adjustable timeline backdrop, complete with fully customizable milestones.
Retaining only the design and guidelines, you can, quickly and hassle-free, replace the default placeholders with specifics pertaining to your project and have it ready for your next meeting. At the same time, thanks to the versatility of this action plan timeline template, you can update it on the spot to accommodate changes in the schedule and even reuse it on future projects. The fact that it was created for PowerPoint makes it so much easier to integrate into your presentations.
The template can be revised in PowerPoint and updated by replacing the existing data with your action plan’s activities and dates. This can also be done instantly, in a few clicks, by using the project planner add-in for PowerPoint from Office Timeline.
Use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to quickly update any of these timeline templates or create your own project visuals. Easily change the texts, dates, colors, shapes and styles of your timeline, right from inside PowerPoint.