Track Your Work

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.

2 thoughts on “Track Your Work”

  1. So that’s what they’re called. I had a boss once that would ask “what do you do all day?” being a detailed person I created a spreadsheet listing each and every step for each project I was responsible for down column A. Then across the other columns I listed each person’s name that touched that task. If you played a part I placed an X in the cell that intersected with your name and the task to be completed. Then at a glance you just had to look for an X under your name to know what you had to do.

    I had done something similiar in assigning the chores around the house when the kids were growing up. Had to hand draw my grid sheet since we didn’t have computers back then.

    I had referred to them as my daily “To Do” lists. Thanks for the post today. Time to create one again.

  2. Pingback: 2011 Leaders Series « Engine For Change

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