6-5-Create Actions

Step 4: Create Actions

Document the set, sequence and priorities of the actions that will achieve the vision and strategies

Produce the appropriate set and sequence of actions

This step is focused on the project management steps related to the capability-building initiative. It includes documenting the set and sequence of the actions that will achieve the vision and implement the strategies selected earlier for enhancing inadequate capabilities and developing any missing capabilities.

The plan’s set of actions should map to the vision and strategies established earlier. The sequence of actions should reflect the logical and efficient set of implementation steps, and maximize value based on the time frame determined earlier. It should include the priority of the steps, along with the current status of the actions throughout implementation.

What distinguishes an agency capability-building action plan is that it should detail the design of each of the desired capabilities and how each of the steps contributes to the desired outcomes related to building capabilities.

There are several dimensions that contribute to developing capabilities, shown in Figure 6.1.:

Not all dimensions are present in every capability, nor necessary to enhance it. For example, the capability to establish data management capability is likely to require some dimensions of governance, systems and processes to enhance it. The capability to quickly adjust strategy may primarily require the organization dimensions.

Figure 6.1. Capability Dimensions
Determine responsibilities, resources and schedule

In addition to the set and sequence of actions, the action plan should establish the implementation roadmap in enough detail that all responsible and supporting staff understand the role they play and the actions for which they are responsible.

• who should lead each action
• which business areas are involved or support each step
• when each step should commence, how long it will take and when it should be completed
• staff will do what and by when, including the list and schedule of activities and what will be achieved through each.

An action plan is meant to be a living document, and the action steps, start and end dates and progress should be updated in real-time. Step 6 goes into additional detail on monitoring and adjusting the action plan over time.

PREWORK to be completed before the workshop – based on the previous steps, participants should review:
• change forces/context
• scope
• vision
• capability gaps
• proposed strategies
• priorities
• performance measures

The agency could use a cross-functional action development workshop to determine the set of actions needed to develop capabilities. This approach helps an agency collaborate on developing the “who” “what” “when” “where” and “how” of the action plan. This ensures that there is agreement that the actions taken will be focused on enhancing the missing or inadequate essential capabilities and establishes joint responsibility for accountability.

The basic steps of an action development workshop include:

Included is a sample agenda for a half-day action development workshop with detailed instructions that can be adapted for state DOT use. Also included is an action plan template, filled in with an example of capability building for creating a learning organization. Note that it incorporates each of the project goals, along with the capability element developed, the business areas responsible for and supporting the action steps, the step priority, along with start and end dates.

Action Plan Title: Capability-Building Related to Learning

Project Lead: Jane Smith
Develop Capability to create a learning organization. Current capability is very low; department has no experience with continuous improvement methodology

Organizational Management approach: Continuous Improvement/Lean
Goal 1: Establish Lean governance and management structure by October 1, 2020
Capability elementBusiness area/person responsibleSupport RolesPriorityStart dateEnd dateStatusNotes
Assign leadHuman resources necessary to develop and monitor capabilityJane SmithDeputy Secretary JonesHigh10/1/201912/1/2020Behind schedule
Plan workshopProcess for aligning leaders, determining gaps, prioritizing likely efficiency drivers, monitoring and reportingJane SmithHR/ Talent Development ContactMedium1/1/20203/1/2020Not startedTD contact will be assigned by 12/15/2019
Kickoff governance committee Leadership support and guidance for initiativeJane Smith,
Secretary’s Office
Board of DirectorsMedium4/1/20205/1/2020Not started
Goal 2: Achieve $2M in organizational efficiencies bottom line savings) by July 1, 2021
Document how to measure/ track savingsProcess documentation and baseline for future improvementsJane Smith, Division RepsGovernance CommitteeHigh10/15/201912/1/2019On track
Set up tracking mechanismSystem structureIT Lead (TBD)Jane SmithMedium10/20/20191/2/2020On trackIT Division Administrator will assign by 10/1/2019
Monitor savingsMeasurement process for capturing resultsJane SmithDivision Reps Low5/1/2020OngoingNot started

Step 4 Checklist
Produce the appropriate set and sequence of actions
• What are the set and sequence of steps?
• How does the plan map to capability-building?
• What are the priorities of the steps?
Determine responsibilities, resources and schedule
• Who is responsible for what and by when?
• Which business areas are supporting the effort?
• When will each step begin?
• When will each step end?
• What is the current status of each step?
Complete Step 4 – Create Actions