What Are Action Items?

Action items are tasks or activities that need to be done by one specific person in an organization to complete a larger project.

What Are Examples of Action Items?

Examples of action items include:

  • Hannah cleans the coffee machine on Sunday
  • Emily sends the timesheets to payroll on every other Wednesday
  • Gary sends the monthly sales report by Friday
  • Jessica finishes the warranty claims by the end of the month

What Are the Benefits of Action Items?

The benefits of action items include:

  • Increasing employee accountability
  • Facilitating project management
  • Enabling team work
  • Prioritizing employee tasks
  • Managing project expectations
  • Increasing productivity
  • Monitoring the progress of a larger project

What Makes a Good Action Item?

Good action items include the following information:

  • Description of the task or activity
  • Due or do date or timeline
  • Owner/responsibility
  • Level of priority
  • Creation date
  • Notes, if necessary

Action items should be really specific. They should not be breakable into smaller tasks or actions. They are the smallest units used in project management.

What Is the Difference Between Action Items, Tasks, Deliverables and Issues?

Action items are tasks that need to be done by one employee to move forward in a project.

Tasks are activities that need to be done by one or multiple employees to complete a project.

Deliverables are the output of a project.

Issues are problems or questions that prevent employees from performing their job or tasks.

How to Keep Track of Action Items?

Action items need to be documented in order to ensure their completion. Managers can use different software, systems or organization methods such as:

  • List-making software
  • Project management software
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • Emails
  • Notes

The best method to keep track of action items ensures that the task will not be lost and can be clearly attributed to one employee.

How to Write Action Items for Staff?

Action items should be written in a clear and simple language. They should always include a due or do date. They must be attributed to one person specifically. Staff should understand what the task is just by reading the action item.

Action items are not goals or plans. Action items should always include an action verb.

How to Create an Action Items List?

To create an action items list, employees and managers can:

  • Create concrete tasks
  • Include who is in charge
  • Determine a due date
  • Break larger tasks in smaller action items
  • Include a description when necessary
  • Use the same format for all action items

Action items should be listed in a software where a manager can follow their progression.

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