Taking your business goals from “not started” to “accomplished” can feel overwhelming. Luckily, an implementation plan template can break down your goal into manageable, achievable steps. Learn how to create one.Create your template
Let’s say you want to renovate your bathroom. How would you go about it? You probably wouldn’t jump right in without a plan in place—that’s a recipe for flooded floors and an expensive repair. Instead, you’d likely think through all the actions you need to take to turn your old bathroom into an updated one before getting started.
Business goals are a lot like that. To achieve them, you need a detailed understanding of the steps that will take you from start to finish. Depending on your goal, planning out all the steps can feel like a big task. That’s where implementation plan templates come in.
An implementation plan is a step-by-step guide that outlines all the steps or actions you and your team need to take to accomplish a business goal—an idea with an achievable result or outcome. These plans help you determine the what and how of your goal so you can break it down into actionable, achievable steps. Plus, implementation plans highlight who is responsible for each task—and by when—so you can feel confident everyone on your team is aligned and accountable.
You should create your project implementation plan during the planning phase, before kicking off your initiative (aka the project or plan of action designed to achieve your specific goal). To learn more about how to build out an implementation plan, read our article on creating an implementation plan.
An implementation plan template is a reusable resource you can use as a starting point to identify what steps you need to take to accomplish your goals. Digital implementation plan templates help you view and track every step you need to take to achieve your goal—and because they’re reusable, you can use them to map out a process for accomplishing similar goals down the line. And that means less work about work—always a win in our book.
Once you’ve created your baseline implementation plan template, using it is easy. You can simply duplicate the template at the start of every initiative and then fill out the information needed to achieve that specific goal.
To get you started, let’s take a look at what to include in your basic implementation plan template.
Your baseline implementation plan template will serve as a roadmap for all your similar goals going forward. That reusability is key—so think about how to build out your baseline template in a way that will easily duplicate across initiatives. Typically, this means including repeatable steps or phases in your baseline template that can scale across initiatives.
The easiest way to do this is by separating the template into phases (such as research, planning, and execution). Once you’ve identified the project phases, you can add in more detail that you’ll use to track progress across your specific goals.
Here’s some basic information you can include in your implementation plan template:
The owner for each task or action item
The action’s start date and deadline
The duration of the action
Then, once you’ve kicked off a specific initiative, you can duplicate the template and add in goal-specific information. Plus, you can add dependencies to any tasks that depend on each other for completion and set milestones to mark specific points along the goal’s timeline (such as when you complete a goal phase). With an implementation plan template, you’ll achieve your goals in no time.
Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization.
Timeline View. Timeline View is a Gantt-style project view that displays all of your tasks in a horizontal bar chart. Not only can you see each task’s start and end date, but you can also see dependencies between tasks. With Timeline View, you can easily track how the pieces of your plan fit together. Plus, when you can see all of your work in one place, it’s easy to identify and address dependency conflicts before they start, so you can hit all of your goals on schedule.
Milestones. Milestones represent important project checkpoints. By setting milestones throughout your project, you can let your team members and project stakeholders know how you’re pacing towards your goal. Use milestones as a chance to celebrate the little wins on the path towards the big project goal.
Dependencies. Mark a task as waiting on another task with task dependencies. Know when your work is blocking someone else’s work, so you can prioritize accordingly. Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work. When the first task is completed, the assignee will be notified that they can get started on their dependent task. Or, if the task your work is dependent on is rescheduled, Asana will notify you—letting you know if you need to adjust your dependent due date as well.
Dropbox. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Dropbox file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane.
Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
Zoom. Asana and Zoom are partnering up to help teams have more purposeful and focused meetings. The Zoom + Asana integration makes it easy to prepare for meetings, hold actionable conversations, and access information once the call is over. Meetings begin in Asana, where shared meeting agendas provide visibility and context about what will be discussed. During the meeting, team members can quickly create tasks within Zoom, so details and action items don’t get lost. And once the meeting is over, the Zoom + Asana integration pulls meeting transcripts and recordings into Asana, so all collaborators and stakeholders can review the meeting as needed.
Miro. Connect Miro and Asana to streamline workflows and see the full picture of every project, all in one place. Embed Miro boards into Asana project briefs, allowing team members to interact, view, comment, or edit directly from within Asana. Or, attach an existing or new Miro board to any Asana task, automatically inviting task collaborators to view, comment, or edit the board.
Static implementation plan templates—like those created in Excel—are a helpful way to see your timeline and tasks at a high level, but they lack the functionality needed to really hit your goals. In contrast, digital implementation plan templates created in a project management tool let you track and manage everything—from communication to goal progress and any potential roadblocks—all in one place.
Here are a few other benefits of using a digital implementation plan template:
Increase goal success by breaking down your high-level goal into actionable, achievable steps at the start of the initiative.
Easily monitor and manage every phase of your project.
See which team members are responsible for what and buy when.
Quickly view any upcoming or overdue milestones, so you can adjust timelines and work accordingly.
Monitor the progress and status of each action item or deliverable.
Easily collaborate and communicate with your project team as well as internal and external stakeholders.
An implementation plan template can help you achieve your business goals by outlining every step you need to take to accomplish a given initiative. When created in a project management tool, a digital template also serves as a reusable baseline for similar initiatives, saving you time and helping you create a streamlined process for achieving goals.
Since your template will serve as a guide for future goals, the baseline template should include any information you’ll want to duplicate and include for similar undertakings. This will likely include information such as goal phases; the status, duration, and priority of action items; and the progress and stage for each action item.
You should create an implementation plan at the beginning of your goal process, when you’re still defining your business goals, conducting your risk assessment, and assigning responsibilities. To learn more about how to create an implementation plan for a specific goal, check out our article on building an implementation plan from scratch.
Strategic plans and implementation plans go hand-in-hand. A strategic plan outlines at a high level what strategies you’re going to take to achieve a business goal. An implementation plan, on the other hand, is a step-by-step action plan that includes the exact actions you’ll take to accomplish the goal. Think of it this way: A strategic plan includes what you’re going to do and why (typically outlined by your company’s vision and mission statements). An implementation plan outlines how you’re going to accomplish those goals, as well as when you’re planning to move forward with the necessary steps and who will help you achieve them.
No matter your best intentions, you need more than motivation to knock out your to-dos. An action item template—where you decide the who, what, and when of every task—can help you organize your workflows and get more done.