The Project Notebook

The 3WS Action List

Its been a little while since I offered a tool or template, so I thought I would introduce the simple, but effective 3WS Action List this week. I like to use these to track some of my more operational and mundane tasks because I can keep notes, dues dates, and actions on a single sheet.

As you may have guessed, the 3WS action list is simply a 4-column table headed with What, When, Who, and Status. I like to organize them into mini projects. So I have one for the actions I need to take over the next few months as PMI Component Mentor, one for my Customer Service improvement initiative at work, and another for my Zero-Defect initiative. At a glance, I can immediately tell what has to happen next, what’s been done, and have notes to refresh my memory on items.

So that you can see what one looks like, click here to see one I’ve started for my 2008 Component Mentor deliverables. As I start executing, I usually like to turn on the “Track Changes” feature of word so I can cross things off, keep multiple comments, and generally see my progress on the list.

If you have any questions about how to use this tool, please leave a comment or drop me a line at

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