Maybe the first question should be – what is an action?
An action is something that somebody needs to do and generally by a certain date.
There are many examples of actions:
- John needs to prepare a plan by the 11th May
- Mary need to arrange a meeting to discuss risks by the 22nd October
- Brian needs to buy bananas at the shops today!
Action management is the process of tracking how people are progressing with their actions.
The examples detailed above are pretty simple but if you think of a £1billion pound Oil & Gas project there will literally be thousands of actions and this is where having a system/process for managing actions is essential.
Most companies & projects manage actions on spreadsheets or systems (like RELAY) to help them assign actions, monitor progress & ensure completion.
By introducing an action tracker process, the visibility of tasks can be increased while this also helps to establish accountability and increase productivity.
By using Excel, organisations have to employ time and effort into data entry and management of their action trackers. Action tracking tools, however, reduce this considerably using automation, while unlike Excel, time does not have to be spent building a suitable spreadsheet for managing actions as this is already established and ready for use.