Nothing so sharpens the thought process as writing down one’s arguments.” – Admiral H.G. Rickover
At work we use a lot of Plans of Action and Milestones or POA&Ms to track our work.
If you’ve never seen one before, a POA&M is a typically an Excel spreadsheet listing actions, who will do the action, when they will do the action by, and any notes or details to go with the task.
Each team goal has its own detailed list of actions and actors to get from the start to the finish.
A POA&M may seem a dictators dream. [Insert The Simpson’s Mr. Burns doing the evil “excellent” fingers here.]
Step 1: Construct a plan.
Step 2: Whip the masses into following it.
Step 3: Check off task by task toward success.
I disagree with that view. Instead, I see a POA&M as a way of making your plans real by getting your thoughts of “how” you’ll accomplish your change out of your head and onto paper.
Creating the POA&M often reveals how many steps you’ll truly have to go through, around and over to accomplish your change.
Track your work with a POA&M and though at first you’ll think you’re slowing down, in the end you’ll be driving change all the faster.