Managing the Plan – Overview

Much of Moving to the Future helps you develop a nutrition and physical activity plan. Equally important to developing the plan is keeping it viable.So far in this chapter we have addressed funding the plan and carrying out the interventions, both of which are important to the plans viability. Now, you need to successfully manage the plan to make sure it remains relevant and useful to your community.


The issues covered here are similar to those discussed in the capacity sections in the nutrition and physical activity plan. (Capacity issues are described on pages 1316 of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan Template Instructions in chapter 3.) Occasionally, after a team develops a plan some time passes and the plan is forgotten and never used. This is unfortunate. The purpose of developing the plan is to use it and make an impact in the community. Not using the plan is also discouraging to the people who worked to create it. Moving to the Future wants to make sure that your team uses its plan over the long term and makes it a priority in your work to improve community health. Moving to the Future has identified five tasks to help you manage the plan and make it a viable resource for your community.


Timeline In chapter 3, Develop a Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan, we recommended attaching a timeline to your plan. Four timeline templates are included in this section to help you develop your own timeline. You do not need to have four timelines for your plan. These four templates are included to give you an idea of what is available. Three of the templates are from the templates section on the Microsoft website. For more timeline templates, check the Microsoft website. New templates are posted regularly. Use the timeline to track your progress and report that information to your team and to the community as appropriate. Be flexible and adjust the timeline as needed. Generally, actual implementation of programs, services, and activities is different than planned implementation. The timeline is a dynamic tool one that should be continually modified. To help with future planning, keep track of actual time spent on the activities in your plan.


Coalition meetings Hold regular meetings with your coalition members. Develop meeting agendas based on the outline of your plan. For example, if your plan included outcome objectives, program objectives, and capacity objectives, then prepare meeting agendas using these three headings. Keep minutes or records of your meetings. Minutes should focus on follow-up actions, not on who said what. See the Meeting Minutes Template for ideas on keeping action-oriented minutes.


Update Every year or two update your plan. Much of the plan may stay the same, but it is useful for your coalition to spend some focused time thinking about the plan, noting progress, and working on modifications. If you collect evaluation data throughout the year, it will be extremely useful in your team’s effort to update the plan. Even just minor tweaking of the plan keeps it relevant and increases the likelihood that your team will use the plan year after year.


Personnel Make sure that the people responsible for implementing and evaluating the plan receive continuing education and skill-based training. The field of community-based nutrition and physical activity is rapidly advancing, and personnel need to remain knowledgeable. Staff may also need training in areas where they lack educational background or experience. For example, one evidence-based strategy to increase physical activity is to modify a communitys design by adding trails, more and better sidewalks, and safe and convenient street crossings. Few professionals in the fields of nutrition, physical activity, or health are experts in community design, and they would need training in this area in order to implement such an intervention, even in order to oversee a work group that would carry out the actual work.


Marketing Market and promote the activities in your plan and promote the plan itself. Carry out the marketing plans you wrote in the Marketing section of your nutrition and physical activity plan. For more information or ideas on marketing your plan, see page 15 of the “Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan Template Instructions,” a resource in chapter 3.


   Timeline Template 1 : A basic Excel file that you could use to create a simple timeline

   Timeline Template 4 :  A project management template that will track actual time spent on activities compared to planned time spent


    Timeline Template 2 : A gantt-like chart to help you see how the activities in your plan fit together throughout the year

     Timeline Template 3 : Similar to template 2 but allows more events to be recorded on one page


   Meeting Minutes Template : Use this template for meeting minutes that focus on decisions made and follow-up actions needed




People work together in a number of ways, in coalitions, partnerships, committees, teams, task forces, and so on. The tools in Moving to the Future will help you no matter how your group is structured. To make Moving to the Future friendly to people working together in different ways, we use these group terms interchangeably. So, if you are working in a formal committee and Moving to the Future uses the word team, the information applies to you as well.


In Moving to the Future, the word program is defined broadly and could encompass any group of activities including projects, services, programs, and policy or environmental changes.

Nutrition and Physical Activity

In Moving to the Future, we often pair the wordnutrition with the phrase physical activity, as for example in “address the nutrition and physical activity needs” or “develop a nutrition and physical activity plan.” This does not suggest that these materials are only useful to people working on community-based nutrition AND physical activity programs. You can use the Moving to the Future resources to develop a plan focused only on nutrition or a plan focused only on physical activity. Moving to the Future provides guidance on a process–not on content. In fact, these materials could be adapted and used to develop a teen pregnancy prevention plan, for example, or a plan for any other community health priority.

Be Flexible & Realistic

Moving to the Future principles Flexible and Realistic are the bywords of this approach. The intent of Moving to the Future is to provide guidance. Use what is helpful and modify materials to meet your needs. Planning and implementing community-based programs is not work that can be done perfectly. Do the best you can, given your real-world limitations, and commit to making improvements every year.