Action plan: How to be more effective when managing it?

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The action plan is part of the "Plan" phase of the PDCA which is a tool for planning the key actions to be implemented in your organization. It makes it possible to achieve the objectives set in accordance with the quality and EHS policy.

How to ensure the deployment of an action plan and its follow-up over time?

Here are some precautions to take to ensure that it is efficiently implemented.


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The action plan: an integral part of the "Plan" phase of the PDCA

The PDCA, or "Deming Cycle", was developed by William Edward Deming in the 1950s. Mr. Deming was an American statistician and professor. He taught Japanese leaders a number of methods to improve quality and, above all, to master it.

The PDCA is a theoretical concept, based on the notion of a cycle, and has been updated by ISO 9001:



Management of the processes and the system as a whole can be achieved using the PDCA cycle with an overall focus on risk-based thinking aimed at taking advantage of opportunities and preventing undesirable results

The repeated application of the Deming Cycle ensures the implementation of a continuous improvement approach within each structure.


The four steps of a PDCA


  • Plan 

During this first step, management is informed of the organization's results and the internal/external context. They define the quality policy and, more specifically, measurable objectives in line with the strategy. It is therefore the stage of formulating the objectives and therefore the making of the action plan.

  • Do 

Once the objectives and action plan are set up, implementation comes next. Oftentimes, this is the longest step.

  • Check 

This step is all about making sure that the action plan has been properly implemented and that the results obtained are consistent with the objectives set. Different tools are used such as internal audit, indicators, etc.

  • Act

This step depends on the outcomes of the checking phase.

  • The outcomes are in line with the objectives set: in this case, what has been done (good practices) is formalized.
  • The outcomes are not in line with the objectives set: a phase of correction and implementation of corrective actions then begins.

These different steps summarize the progress of the PDCA, but you will come to realize that it is not always easy to apply them without taking a few precautions...

Action plan: what are the key points?


Have the action plan approved upstream by Management board.

Indeed, first of all, the management board sets the objectives to be achieved.

The strategic analysis carried out upstream can be done using a SWOT analysis or PESTEL analysis. Each service/pilot will then define the actions that meet each of the objectives set. The action plan could be p for approval during a management review, for example, in order to validate the objectives and get the commitment of the management regarding the allocated resources (possible purchasing budgets, human resources...)


Work on the action plan as a group

It is essential to build your action plan WITH the actors instead of impose it on them.

The QSE manager plays the role of project manager by helping managers to answer the question "How can you contribute to achieving the objectives set for this year?” The action plan is far too often limited to the EHSQ service, yet it is essential that it be shared within all services to be effective.


Do not come up with multiple action plans

Coming up with too many action plans is not efficient... How can employees be involved if they cannot find their way around this management? It is preferable to carry out a global action plan by integrating different themes (the themes of v2014 for the health sector, for example or themes such as audit, non-compliance, etc. for industry.)


Use multiple tools

You can use other tools such as the Gantt to help you manage your action plan, such as managing the due dates of your actions. But we are in the digital era, which means it is now possible for you to manage your Action Plan in collaborative mode with all your coworkers. They will then receive an alert when they have to close an action, and will be able to enter their actions directly on the tool via a tablet while in the field...

As you will have understood, the Action Plan is essential when it comes to EHSQ management. It takes into account the actions to be completed during the year, ensuring that the company has an effective continuous improvement system. The important thing is not to create a time-consuming system and to communicate with your employees on a daily basis.


Learn more:


EHSQ and Strategy

Crédit Photo : Adobe Stock

Ingénieur QHSE - Responsable du pôle Contents Managers chez BlueKanGo /QHSE Engineer - Content manager at BlueKanGo/Ingeniero HSEQ - Gerente de Contenido en BlueKanGo
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