Action Management

February 17, 2009

A sponsored link in a recent AICPA CPA Daily caught my eye when it referenced a blog “5 Tips for More Productivity in 2009”.

While it turned out that the blog is essentially promoting a new project management software package, Action Method Online, the underlying theory upon which the package is based intrigues me.

Essentially, the presumption is that we are buried in way too much communication (I hear you!), reducing our organizations’ effectiveness. With so much communication, particularly via e-mail and online communication tools, it becomes difficult to efficiently separate information requiring action from information that’s just information, resulting in action requests being lost. The theory suggests that we separate action communication from informational communication, and that we separate information from discussion, by hosting each in discrete tools.

One discipline to accomplish this would be to have internal e-mail be used only for information. Ongoing electronic discussions would be conducted on discussion boards. And anything that requires action would instead be logged directly into the organization’s project management software. If individuals then focus their time on completing actions rather than sorting and filing information, it naturally results in increased productivity. Of course this presumes an organization-wide commitment to everyone using these tools.

I love the theory’s “bias toward action.” One of the sponsor’s theories is that design is a significant component in success of a software strategy, and I think their tool is a star when it comes to design. Upon checking out the product further, the project management tools aren’t as robust as I prefer (tasks are displayed in an array like post-its, without the sorting and nesting I require;) but there are starting to be positive reviews online from individuals using the tool for a single user within the creative fields (search for Action Method on Twitter.

Similar philosophies are starting to be recognized by companies adopting “e-mail free Fridays,” to reduce the time staff spend processing information and increase the time spent working. Companies have found social and emotional benefits from breaking the electronic communication chain and actually speaking to their teams in the office.Paraphrasing the 5 tips blog – let’s spend the new year focusing on what can move us forward as organizations, and find ways to focus on ACTION.


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