Action plan

Method

An action plan is a detailed description of activities against a timeline for their completion and a list of individuals responsible for each activity.  Creating an action plan to guide the implementation of a National Water Safety Plan can ensure associated activities are completed by individuals who are best suited to do them. It clearly states what tasks need to be completed, by who, and by when, to ensure the water safety plan is implemented in a timely manner. It can also help in creating accountability among stakeholders involved and can be used to forecast resources required to carry out planned activities. 

It is important that the action plan is created in a modifiable format, allowing it to be updated over the course of water safety plan implementation. Sufficient detail should be added against each activity listed. Adding regular tracking notes on the progress of each activity over time will help monitor how individual tasks are moving ahead and may highlight areas that require additional attention. Once each activity is completed, make note of its result. How does this compare to your expected result? Has the activity been completed appropriately? Was each activity completed on time?  


Advantages

  • Action plans are a cost-effective project planning tool which aid in goal setting. 
  • They can help to conceptualise the boundaries of a National Water Safety Plan (what is or is not possible) and consider details which may otherwise be overlooked.  
  • They are able to be used for delegating tasks and ensuring stakeholder accountability. 
  • They clearly outline what needs to be achieved in set timeframes, enhancing plan credibility.  
  • They highlight areas of the plan requiring additional support prior to deadlines being reached. 
  • They help ensure the efficient use of resources and time. 
  • They can be used to demonstrate plan success to external stakeholders or funders. 
  • Many freely available action plan templates are available online. 


Disadvantages

  • Action plans require a high level of specific detail in order to be effective tools. 
  • Creating multiple action plans, or complex action plans, can be time-consuming and may require expert input. 
  • Planning cannot account for every outcome: action plans may become disrupted through unexpected events or delayed tasks which cause a flow-on effect. 
  • In order to be effective, action plans require regular updating with task progress which can become time-consuming. 


Context

It is appropriate to create an action plan after establishing the goals and objectives of a National Water Safety Plan. This will help with planning milestones in more detail, and the delegation of responsibility among stakeholders. Completing an action plan at this point allows the feasibility of the water safety plan to be assessed. The action plan may highlight areas that need further development or perhaps adjustments will need to be made to the project timeline.

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