Deep Dive on Actions

In Quick Start for Managers and Quick Start for Individuals, we covered the basics on Nodabl actions. Here we'll go deep into every aspect of actions, including:


Managing Actions

Actions on the Kanban Board

Actions show up as cards on the Kanban board. You can drag the cards across columns to change the Action Status. You can also drag the cards vertically to change the order within a column.

  1. Action Name

  2. Goals

  3. Action Task progress

  4. New Action Comment indicator

  5. Due Date

Due dates will show up in different colors if they are past due or impending.

  1. Action Tasks

  2. Context Menu

Clicking on the action card will expand the card. From the expanded view you can:

  • Check / uncheck Action Tasks

  • Go to Action Details by clicking on "Edit" where you can edit the action and view all the details, including action comments

  • Request Feedback on this action. This only shows in the context menu when the action is "Started" or "Done"

  • Change the Action Status

Editing and Deleting Actions

You can edit and delete actions from the Action Details screen. Clicking on the Delete Action button will pop up a confirmation screen so you don't accidentally delete an action you want to keep.


Action Data Fields

1. Name

Action names should be short, action-oriented, and self-evident. You should be able to recall the high level details about the action by the name alone.

2. Description

Use the description to add in the next level of detail, if required, for your action. The description supports rich text, so you can link out to external material and use formatting to make it easy to read.

3. Action Tasks

Action Tasks let you break down your action into subtasks that show up as a to-do list. This lets you break down meatier actions into smaller steps. Giving yourself a road map to a larger action makes those actions seem more manageable. You’ll also have a more tangible sense of progress as you check items off instead of waiting until you drag the action to done.

You can add as many Action Tasks as you like. You can also reorder them by dragging the hamburger icon.

If you have Action Tasks on an action, you’ll see the status of tasks on the action cards on the Kanban board. You can also check / uncheck Action Tasks from the expanded view of the action card.

Action Tasks do not support task level deadlines. A good rule of thumb is that if you find yourself wanting deadlines at the task level, the task probably deserves its own action.

4. Goals

This is where you assign your action to one or more goals. Actions can be assigned to multiple goals. When you have only one active goal, actions you add will be defaulted to that goal. When you add an action from the View Goal page, the action will be defaulted to that goal.

5. Due Date

Due dates are a valuable commitment device. Additionally, Nodabl will remind you via email about upcoming due dates. Without due dates, no automated reminders.

6. Labels

Labels are a way to categorize and append additional metadata to your actions. We recommend labeling your actions with the skills / competencies that apply to that action. So, for example, if your action is to “Present Q1 sales results to Sales Team”, then you could label the action with “Public Speaking / Presenting”.

If your goals are labeled, then your action will automatically be labeled with the goal’s labels when you assign the action to that goal (you can remove those labels if you’d like).

Nodabl provides a set of skill / competency labels for you to choose from, and you can create your own. When you create your own, you’ll be able to access it in the future as an option in the Labels typeahead.

Labeling your actions provides several benefits:

  • When combined with Action Ratings and Reports, you can get a sense for what skills / competencies are easy (or hard) for you. You can also get a sense for what you tend to perform well on, and which ones you may need to work on.

  • You build your own database of which skills / competencies you’ve practiced, when, and on what actions. This information can be helpful when during performance evaluations/360 reviews, when updating your resume/LinkedIn, and when interviewing for jobs.

  • Labels drive Feedback Template recommendations. We have a library of skill and competency specific feedback templates, so that when you request Feedback via Nodabl, you can ask pre-set questions specific to the skill or competency on which you want feedback. When you label your actions, we’ll be able to better recommend the relevant templates to you, and to your collaborators if they proactively provide feedback on the action.

7. Action Ratings

Action Ratings let you rate an action across three dimensions on a 1-5 scale:

  • Difficulty: How hard was it for you to do this action?

  • Performance: How well did you perform on this action?

  • Value: How valuable was this action to achieving your goal.

You don’t need to rate an action across all three dimensions - you can pick and choose different dimensions for different actions if that’s what makes sense for you.

We recommend rating your actions as you set them to Done. Then, you can view aggregated data in Reports, filtered by date range, goal, and/or labels. By rating your actions, you are setting yourself up to optimize your effort. You can learn:

  • If you’re working on the right things (high value actions)

  • If you’re pushing yourself hard enough to learn a new skill (high difficulty actions)

  • What types of actions are hard for you (high difficulty actions), and which ones are easy (low difficulty actions)

  • What are areas of strengths (high performance actions) and what areas do you need to work on (low performance actions)

8. Status

Actions can have one of three statuses: Not Started, Started, Done.

Use Status to keep yourself organized and on track. You can change the status of an action by dragging the action card on the Kanban Board, using the expanded view context button, or by changing the status from the Action Details screen.

9. Related Actions

Related Actions let you connect one action to other actions that have some sort of relationship with each other so you can easily navigate between them. Some ways to use this are:

  • If you’re taking a class, you can relate actions for specific lectures and assignments to the action to study for the test that covers those. That way, on your “Study for Test” action, you’ll have quick access to all of the Actions with the material for that test.

  • If you have one Action that is blocked by another Action. You can relate the two together so that you know that one is being blocked by the other.


Action Comments

You can exchange comments with collaborators at the action level. This is useful for action specific comments so that these comments are always in context (as opposed to having action specific comments as a goal comment).

Action comments will also appear in the goal comments feed for all goals associated with the action.


Feedback

You can request structured feedback on specific actions via Nodabl. Click on Request Feedback from the Action Details screen or from the context menu in the expanded view of the action on the Kanban Board. This will take you into the feedback request flow, where you can pick your feedback template, specify who you want to request to, and write a message for them. You can request feedback from anyone you want - they don't have to be a Nodabl member to respond to your request.

Collaborators can proactively provide feedback via Nodabl as well. When viewing a collaborator's action, you will see a Provide Feedback button. Clicking this will take you to the provide feedback flow, where you can select a feedback template and provide your feedback.

Learn more about our feedback feature in the section Exchanging Feedback.


See also