Meeting Action Items
All team meetings are held with the promise of later achieving the goals and following the action plan, only for little progress to be made after the meeting. While members confined in a room can bring out the best ideas and enthusiasm, as soon as the session ends, all the action plans fall by the wayside, and nothing is done. Project meetings are focused on allowing real-time discussions on crucial issues affecting the members of an organization. During such meetings, there will be a need for further action to act on the discussed ideas.
Action items in meeting minutes
At the crux of any meeting, you need to decide what should be done after a meeting and take action based on these decisions. Without these two things, the conference is nothing but a failure, and holding the meeting was a waste of time.
An action item is a discrete task that a team or individual must accomplish after the meeting. Therefore, the tasks that arise from meetings and should be documented in the meeting minutes for easy follow up and tracking. As teams or individuals complete the tasks, they are recorded as being completed then removed in a list of outstanding action items.
People who overestimate how well they are likely to remember things may end up forgetting to follow up. This is why an action item is documented to help keep track and accomplish the things needed for team productivity. Teams can use the list to figure out what is required to get a project from start to finish.
Decision-making and action-taking are what organizations need to move forward. However, more teams struggle to cross out all action items on their lists because of poor planning. There is a high likelihood of efforts to fall flat if action items are not well managed. For example, there is a problem when a meeting ends, and everyone goes separate ways without an action plan on the way forward.
Action plans are all the actions taken after the meeting that need to be completed. The tasks cannot be limited to just work items such as building software but comprise many more things that require supervision. It is what happens between project meetings that make or breaks a project.
Therefore, one of the most important aspects of holding a project meeting is to agree on tasks that should be carried out. The team will discuss these tasks and create a report on which items were completed before the next meeting.
How to write action points
Action items in meeting minutes should be clear to everyone attending the meeting and easy to understand. Most importantly, the person being assigned the tasks should understand them for easy implementation. Each participant’s role in the goal should be exact, and the items should be specific, measurable, and attainable to ensure success.
The action points should be expressed as full sentences to avoid misunderstandings when going over the letter. If you abbreviate an action item during a meeting, you might struggle to wonder what it means when following up later. The clarity of writing follow-ups in meeting minutes determines how well they will be completed before the next meeting.
The meeting tasks should be small and achievable, should follow a logical pattern of completion, and their expectations should be clearly understood. Everyone can tell whether an action plan is feasible to achieve in real-time or is not realistic. When writing meeting to-do’s, ensure they can be completed within a set period.
At the same time, when writing action items for a project, ensure all crucial details such as deadlines and responsible items are included. When writing a description of the task, you should start with a verb that works best. For example, writing “a review of the project plan” instead of “the project needs a review.”
After a project meeting, most action items will not be achieved if they are theoretical and not feasible in the real world. They will also not be performed when a team member cannot understand how completing them can help them deliver the goal. If the action item is inherently considered secondary to the project deliverables, there will be no sense of urgency.
At the same time, when writing an action item in a meeting minutes example, include the “who, what and when” properties. Identify the person assigned the action item, describe the item, and indicate the expected deadline. Specific deadlines are helpful when writing action items rather than saying “next week.”
There are action item templates that can help you write the action minutes. The templates break down each agenda topic into their section, including the deadline, person responsible, and action item. This allows you to manage the follow-through with a great organization.
Action items examples
Examples of action items include small tasks such as notifying the supplier of an ongoing project, clarifying the next steering board meeting, booking a conference room, and ordering food for a team workshop. It can also be more complicated with a small group from the meeting gathering to start working on a significant project. Hence, an action item can be considered a more general form of different actions or issues. They differ based on the decisions made in a meeting and what is expected to be achieved within a specified time. This means anything that needs to be done can be called an action plan, making them the backbone of any project. You have to ensure each of the action items is completed before the next meeting and that they are as clear in the deliverable or result as possible.
Follow up on action items
Once someone is given an action item after a meeting, they have to seek answers to any clarifying questions. For example, an individual can review the meeting notes to understand any further instructions about the assignment. In case someone was not in the meeting, they can request the minutes and any other relevant resources to use for follow up.
The idea is to have a full context and understanding of all decisions made in a meeting and subsequent action plan. The follow-up meetings are when you review all assigned tasks and ensure everything was assigned to someone. Therefore get a summary of the meeting out within an hour so that the discussion and any other step stays on everyone’s radar.
If you are a team leader, then ensure you assign someone to track and follow up on action items between one meeting and the next. The standard format for action items assigned during meeting minutes includes the who, the what, and the when. For example, you have to determine the one person who takes responsibility for ensuring the tasks get done. You also have to describe the task and the expected date for completing the action item.
In assigning roles and responsibilities, you need to send out a meeting action item email telling your team that they will be working on an action item at the next meeting. The email should include an action items list that needs to be done next and ensure everyone knows what needs to be done. Include due dates with action items, so everyone knows when they need to finish each action item.
The follow-up actions after a meeting email is crucial if one of the action items becomes at risk of non-delivery. If you feel like missing an action item or suspect that someone has over-committed, follow up allows you to reassign the action item and ensure it is accomplished before the next meeting. In most cases, a team should ensure they complete at least 90 percent of all items assigned in a forum. They should follow up with an action plan item in a consistent and timely manner.
Tracking action items best practices
After a decision-making meeting with action items, a team must track the action items to completion to ensure meeting effectiveness and productivity. Traditionally, the action tracker entailed one meeting attendee taking notes and emailing them after the meeting to all participants. However, teams would struggle to ensure every action item discussed in the session is completed as assigned. Also, an after meeting action plan email comprising the summary of a meeting should be sent to all members. It should include action item assignments, leading to a lack of appropriate follow up on the tasks.
Hence, there is an increased need to improve tracking action items after a project meeting. Some tools and systems can capture meeting notes in a database and assign them automatically. Tools such as excel spreadsheet templates for tracking makes it easy to track each action item. The best thing about digital tools is that it can notify someone and the task being delegated, making it easy to track.
Other times, teams use project planning tools to track action items or service reports. The tools are used to facilitate group communication, which is crucial in increasing productivity. The usual format involves recording an action item number, the date when it was identified, the name of a person assigned to the task, a description of the action item, and its deliverables.
However, using minor tasks from daily meetings can also help track the action items to completion. This can involve the team creating a shared to-do-list or a meeting tracker app to bolster accountability and ensure every action item is completed. In essence, you can assign and manage action items from team meetings by automatically identifying action items and extracting their properties.
Streamlining the workflow processes can ensure transparency regarding the handling of action items. This transparency makes sure no action item is lost in the shuffle of a fast-paced work environment. The idea behind tracking action items is to identify what has been completed and what is pending. A personalized synch up with individuals assigned the action item regularly can help in monitoring the progress.
In essence, the action points are tracked to resolution and not to completion. This is because while the goal is to complete every action item, there are scenarios where the item may not be relevant, and fulfillment will not be possible.