Action item

Action item

:"A similar concept is the next action according to the Getting Things Done system by David Allen.

In Management, an action item is a documented event, task, activity, or action that needs to take place. Action items are discrete units that can be handled by a single person.

Planning actions

Action items are usually created during a discussion by a group of people who are meeting about one or more topics and during the discussion it is discovered that some kind of action is needed. The act required is then documented as an action item and usually assigned to someone, usually a member of the group. The person to whom the action is assigned is then obligated to perform the action and report back to the group on the results.

Action items are usually documented in the meeting minutes and are recorded in the task list of the group. As people complete action items, the items are documented as being completed and the item is removed from the list of outstanding action items.


A usual format for an action item is to record an action item number, the date when the action item is identified or created, the name of the person to whom the action is assigned, a title description of the action, and a more detailed description of the action and its outcomes. The action item number may be the date of the meeting followed by a sequence number with each action item for that date being assigned a unique sequence number. For instance, a meeting held on January 23 2006 may generate three action items whose identifying numbers would be 2006012301, 2006012302, and 2006012303 using a YYYY (year), MM (month), DD (day), NN (sequence number) format.

An action item can be considered a more general form of various types of action/issue/defect tracking methods. For instance, a bug report is a form of action item as is a service report created by a service company to track a problem reported by a customer or an RMA number.


There are a number of software applications for tracking action items or service reports. These applications are used within software development organizations as well as in customer support functions. Because these software applications facilitate group communication, they are often referred to as Collaborative software or groupware.Fact|date=September 2007

Many information technology support groups use some kind of service report software so that when a trouble report is called in, the person answering the telephone will create a trouble ticket to track the issue. The trouble ticket is assigned to a member of the IT services organization who then visits the person who has reported a problem and resolves the problem. The IT services person will then close out the trouble ticket indicating the issue has been resolved.Fact|date=September 2007

Recent research at the [ Computational Semantics Lab] at Stanford University seeks to automatically identify action items and extract their properties (the "what", "who", and "when" of the action item) using automatic speech recognition transcripts from spontaneous, multi-party conversations during meetings. (See [ video 1] or [ video 2] ).


An example of an action item in meeting minutes is as follows.Fact|date=September 2007

* 2006012301 Contact three moving companies and obtain quote by Jan 30. Assigned to Joshua Kandar.

At the next meeting the action item list is reviewed by the group and at that meeting, the facilitator will ask Joshua Kandar the status of his action item. If Joshua reports that he has obtained the three quotes and submits the quotes to the group then the action item is completed and the next meeting minutes will report that the action is completed. He reports that he has not completed the action by obtaining three quotes, the action is carried forward and documented in the next meeting minutes as incomplete. As part of documenting progress, the person issuing the minutes may add a note as to the current progress on the action.

For instance, if Joshua has two quotes and is waiting on a third, the person recording the meeting minutes may note something like the following

* Joshua obtained two quotes, one from Two Men moving and one from Allied Van lines. He is waiting on a quote from Kobe Movers.

Other uses

Action Item (Band) [] is a 5 piece rock band from Bergen County, New Jersey.

"Action Item" [] is also the name of a superhero in a comic strip by Neil McAllister, which parodies business and management jargon.

See also

* Task list
* Bug report
* Return Merchandise Authorization
* IT Service Management

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