What are Meeting Action Items?

Meeting Action Items

Meeting action items are discrete, detailed tasks that are assigned to individuals or a team to complete after the meeting. These tasks are discussed and agreed upon by the responsible parties during the meeting.

Action items usually arise from meetings and should therefore be documented in the meeting minutes for easy tracking.

Why are action items important?

Meeting action items can help board members plan exactly how the board will go about its work. Action items provide a route map to complete tasks by assigning them to relevant stakeholders and attaching accountability to them.

Tracking action items allows the board to visualise the current performance of each individual and give valuable insight into who may need further help. By reviewing key details of these tasks during the meeting, the assignees can fully understand their responsibilities.

Key elements of action items

The key elements of action items include:

  • Specificity

A short description of the task at hand and key dependencies — actions that should be completed before this task can begin.

  • Priority

The priority of the task — low, medium or high — in case two or more tasks have the same deadline. This ensures that the most important one is completed first.

  • Accountability

The names of the individuals responsible for executing the action item.

  • Current Status

The present stage of the action item — in progress, completed or not yet started.

  • Deadlines

The date and time by which the action should be complete.

  • Follow-up

Any actions that should be executed after this task is completed, including reporting back or organising a follow-up meeting.

Best practices for handling action items

Here are the best practices to ensure that all action items are executed successfully:

  • Visualise action items simultaneously

Use a project management tool or a visual chart to see all action items in one place. This allows you to track their progress easily and stay informed of the latest developments.

  • Establish milestones

Some tasks can be completed quickly while others need to be divided into stages. Create milestones for longer action items to provide a sense of accomplishment and keep the assignees motivated.

  • Communicate changes with assignees

Adapting to change is vital during any project. Make sure that you communicate changes with all the assignees. For example, if one person asks to change their schedule, consider adjusting the due date or having another assignee absorb some of their responsibilities.

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