Developing Accessibility Action Plans for Advising and Guiding Business Owners/Managers
1 – Planning process
Developing Action Plans is part of the Planning process.
PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) is an iterative, four-stage approach for continually improving processes, products or services, and for resolving problems. It involves systematically testing possible solutions, assessing the results, and implementing the ones that are shown to work.
The four phases are:
- PLAN: identify and analyze the problem or opportunity, develop hypotheses about what the issues may be, and decide which one to test;
- DO: test the potential solution, ideally on a small scale, and measure the results;
- CHECK: study the result, measure effectiveness, and decide whether the hypothesis is supported or not;
- ACT: if the solution was successful, implement it.
When focusing on the identification and analysis of a problem or situation a SWOT analysis is recommended.
SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is a strategic planning technique used to help a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition or project planning.
It is intended to specify the objectives of the business venture or project and identify the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving those objectives. Users of a SWOT analysis often ask and answer questions to generate meaningful information for each category to make the tool useful and identify their competitive advantage.
2 – Planning tools
The Ability Advisor should use several types of planning tools.
Schemes, diagrams and charts enhance the understanding of the process by showing all involved parts and how they are interconnected in an easy to follow format. They are useful tools both for designing new processes and for improving existing processes. In both cases these tools provide a quick, visually clear view of the work and may rapidly lead to process points of interest.
Task Management tools are used by individuals, teams and organizations that help complete projects more efficiently by organizing and prioritizing related tasks.
Task Management tools come in many forms, like basic spreadsheets or online project management applications. At every level, task management tools help people:
- Work efficiently and reduce waste;
- Stay organized;
- Ensure teams and individuals are being utilized in the correct ways;
- Meet deadlines.
Task management tools addresses a general need to organize, prioritize and visualize work. Through analysis, you learn how to get things done in more effective ways.
Organization – At its most basic level, a task management tool is used to help individuals, teams or businesses stay organized. Part of being organized includes setting priorities for tasks, visualizing the progress of tasks as they pass through stages of completion and compiling analysis or reports to direct future tasks and workflows.
Prioritization – A task board lets you organize your tasks by priority so you can ensure that the most important things are completed first. That being said, task management tools are easy to update. By prioritizing tasks we are able to focus on how work should be attacked, rather than jumping from one item to another without any direction.
Visualization – Not only will visualizing tasks help you remember what you need to do, but it helps you better understand a project as a whole. This means task management tools are easily accessible by everyone. When every item is laid out in a way that is easy to comprehend, dependencies become clear and collaboration is natural.
Analysis – Task management tools produce concrete data that can be reviewed and digested so end users can easily grasp what they are doing, what they have done and how things can be done better. Task management tools always provide for some form of analysis, whether it is a formula that you have created or something built into the tool. This is an essential part improving the way things get done.
Collaborative work tools help people to collaborate. The purpose of a collaboration tool is to support a group of two or more individuals to accomplish a common goal or objective.
Collaboration tools can be either of a non-technological nature such as paper, flipcharts, post-it notes, whiteboards or they can also include software tools and applications such as collaborative software.
Time Management tools will help you managing the hours of the day. It’s about planning and organizing how much time you will spend carrying out certain activities, whether it’s professional or personal.
Effective time management enables you to plan and perform daily tasks within set deadlines. In this way, activities don’t accumulate and can be developed with greater dedication.
There are countless time management tools and techniques that help you understand your work routine and develop methodologies that you can use to optimize every minute of the day. Fortunately, it’s now possible to have technology as an ally in the time management process.
3 – Action Plan
Action Plans are a sequence of steps that must be taken, or activities that must be performed well, for a strategy to succeed. An action plan has three major elements:
- Specific tasks: what will be done and by whom;
- Time horizon: when will it be done;
- Resource allocation: what specific funds are available for specific activities. Also called action program.
To draw up an Action Plan simply list the tasks that you need to carry out to achieve your objective, in the order that you need to complete them.
Use the three-step process below to help you:
Step 1: Identify Tasks
Start by brainstorming all of the tasks that you need to complete to accomplish your objective.
It’s helpful to start this process at the very beginning. What’s the very first action you’ll need to take? Once that task is complete, what comes next? Are there any steps that should be prioritized to meet specific deadlines, or because of limits on other people’s availability?
Step 2: Analyze and Delegate Tasks, Assign Resources
Now that you can see the entire project from beginning to end, look at each task in greater detail.
Are there any steps that you could drop, but still meet your objective? Which tasks could you delegate to someone else on your team, or could be dealt with by a freelancer? Are there any deadlines for specific steps? Which resources can be used? Do you need to arrange additional resources?
Step 3: Double-Check with SCHEMES
Use the SCHEMES mnemonic to check that your plan is comprehensive. SCHEMES stands for:
You may not need to think about all of these to complete your project.
Don’t forget to add the time dimension being very clear about when will the tasks need to be done (deadlines).
Also, you should include a list with all the resources required for each task.
Once you’ve completed your plan, keep it by you as you carry out the work, and update it with additional activities if required.