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Do You Need Clearer Project Actions?

Something that I have observed (consciously at least) over the past few months is the correlation between clear project actions (such as on meeting minutes) and the rate of actions being closed out.

How many times have you read the notes from a meeting and wondered what on Earth the tasks really are? I'd bet that a lot of people feel the same way.

The result, however, is that actions aren't being undertaken and progress doesn't get made in a timely manner.

We're already competing against time, other priorities and who knows what else in terms of day to day hassles. Having actions that are unclear on a circulated document do not aid their completion, and certainly helps the actions to find their way to the bottom of the pile (so to speak).

So, over the past few months, when I have witnessed this in action, I have challenged my clients to spend a few seconds more on each action and make sure that the request is clear. Not just the 'who' and 'when', but the description of the 'what' itself.

I've seen people who sent out the actions go back to the list (usually at the next meeting) and scratch their heads as to what they meant...

If you are guilty of this then please stop! Taking a few extra moments before you send out your list to ensure that the actions are crystal clear is well worth the investment. After all, a few extra minutes invested with defining / recording the actions may save you weeks in terms of getting results.

And yes, my clients instantly spotted the errors of their ways. Better action lists were produced from their meetings and more stuff started happening in-between their improvement meetings. It's simple, but it works.


Giles Johnston
...optimising MRP systems and re-engineering business processes