The Importance of an Action Plan

May 13, 2013 / By Rene Antunez

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When I started my work in IT, I used to be in a very small shop. And even though we had people in several places in the same state, everything used to be very centralized, and work was from 9 to 5. Since we were basically only 2 people , our action plan used to be a talk over the lunch table, and that would be it. We would go ahead and execute it after 5 PM and, I won’t lie, sometimes before 5 :) .

Over the years, I learned that even if you are a 2 guy shop or a team of 15 separated by oceans and being miles apart, communication is the most important thing to have on your team. One of the means of communication to employ is having an action plan in place for any major/medium change you do in your organization. This will generate discussions among your teammates and reduce the possibility of errors when you are faced with time and pressure constraints when implementing it.

This might sometimes feel like a mundane and boring task, as the elaboration takes effort and the verification takes time, but when game day comes along, you will see the great benefit of having an action plan.

Another great benefit of having an action plan is that you also have a road map if you need to rollback your change. That is critical because normally, any major change or rollback is not done only by one person. Take for example a change that takes about 7 or 8 hours to be done, and at the end when the UAT (User Application Testing) is done, 1 or 2 more hours. If the application team decides that a rollback is needed, you are probably not in a good state of mind to do the rollback after 8 hours of continuous work. However, if you have an action plan, one of your teammates can step in and allow you to rest, even if it is just to go to the kitchen and have 10 minutes to yourself for a sandwich and a coke.

Having an action plan doesn’t mean that everything will go smoothly or that you won’t have an error in there. But believe me: It will reduce the possibility of errors that would occur if you executed it by memory or by doing one yourself without revision.

I hope that you already have an action plan as part of your major/medium changes, but if you don’t, it is time to get FIT-ACER. Here is an example (Kudos to Cesar Sanchez, as it is his Action Plan Template). Use and modify it to your needs. It’s a good start!

Action Plan Template

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