The Planning Function || Planning and Decision Making || Bcis Notes

The Planning Function || Planning and Decision Making || Bcis Notes

The Planning Function

The Planning Function is the basic function that involves anticipation of the future course of events and deciding the best course of action. It is a process of thinking before doing. To plan is to produce a scheme for future action; to bring about specified results, at a specified cost, in a specified period. It is a deliberate attempt to influence, exploit, bring about, and controls the nature, direction, extent, speed, and effects of change. It may even attempt deliberately to create change, remembering always that change (like decision) in any one sector will, in the same way, affect other sectors. Planning is a deliberate and conscious effort done to formulate the design and orderly sequence actions through which it is expected to reach the objectives. Planning is a systematic attempt to decide a particular course of action for the future; it leads to the determination of objectives of the group activity and the steps necessary to achieve them. Thus, it can be concluded that planning is the selecting and relating of facts and the making and use of assumptions regarding the future in the visualization and formulation of proposed activities believed necessary to achieve desired results.

Definition of Planning

Planning is the fundamental management function, which involves deciding beforehand, what is to be done, when is it to be done, how it is to be done and who is going to do it.

Planning System

Planning is a subsystem of the overall management system of an organization. Therefore, planning should be viewed as part of the process portion of the management system. As with any system, the planning subsystem includes input, process, and output. The planning system can make sure that development supports regeneration which meets the needs of local communities. It can support the development of affordable housing. The planning system can make sure that new development in historic areas takes into account its surroundings. And it can prevent development where it would cause unacceptable environmental damage. The planning system ensures built development is in the right place when new houses, shops, parks, community centers or factories are planned. The Planning System provides society with a way of controlling how we use the land, what we build and where we build it.

Types of Planning

Strategic planning

Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. It is a disciplined effort that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. Effective strategic planning articulates not only where an organization is going and the actions needed to make progress, but also how it will know if it is successful.

Tactical planning

Tactical planning takes a company’s strategic plan and sets forth specific short-term actions and plans, usually by the company department or function. The tactical planning horizon is shorter than the strategic plan horizon. Tactical planning translates broad strategic goals and plans into specific goals and plans. These plans focus on functional areas of the organization. They even focus on the major actions that a unit must take to fulfill its part of the strategic plan.

Operational Plans 

Operational plans identify the specific procedures and processes required at the lower levels of the organization. These plans have a very short-term focus. They deal with routine tasks. An operational plan (also known as a work plan) is an outline of what your department will focus on for the near future—usually the upcoming year. Simply put, your strategic plan shares your vision for the future, while your operational plan lays out how you’ll get there on a daily to weekly basis.

Steps in the Planning Process

Establish Goals

Goals indicate the endpoint of what is to be done, where the primary emphasis is to be placed, and what is to be accomplished by the network policies, strategies, procedures, rules, and budget. Goal setting involves the development of an action plan designed to motivate and guide a person or group toward a goal. Goal setting can be guided by goal-setting criteria such as SMART criteria. Goal setting is a major component of personal-development and management literature.

Identify Premises

Premises are simply assumptions on which plans are based. They involve the gathering of all data and pertinent facts about environmental trends to identify and isolate potential opportunities and threats. A premise is a statement in an argument that provides reason or support for the conclusion. There can be one or many premises in a single argument. A conclusion is a statement in an argument that indicates what the arguer is trying to convince the reader/listener. Thus, a plan should spell out the anticipated environment in which it has to operate and identify the conditions that would affect its implementation.

Identify Alternatives 

If there are no alternatives, planning is not necessary. Critical thinking of the planners is required to visualize the most crucial and apparent possibilities. Only the most likely possibilities should be retained for further consideration. The most common problem with alternatives is not that of the finding alternatives only but to reduce the number of alternatives so that most promising ones may be taken for detailed analysis. The concept of various alternatives suggests that a particular objective can be achieved through various actions.

Test the Practicability of Alternatives

When all possible courses of action have been identified and their strong and weak points examined, the next step in planning is to evaluate them for feasibility and consequences in the light of premises and goals. Some alternatives may be highly profitable but may require a huge investment.

Select and Announce the Final Plan

The final step in planning should flow naturally from the preceding steps. If alternatives have been clearly spelled out and carefully examined, the most desirable choice is usually apparent. This is the point at which the plan is adopted – the real point of decision-making.


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