Planning – Features, Importance, Examples and Steps

Definition of Planning

According to Koontz and O’Donnell, Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and who is to do it. Planning bridges the gap between where we are and where we want to go. It makes it possible for things to occur which would not otherwise happen.

Features of Planning

  1. Planning contributes to objectives – Planning starts with determining objectives, which is an essential step.
  2. Planning is a primary function of management – Planning is the primary or first function that every manager must perform.
  3. Planning is futuristic/forward-looking – Planning involves looking ahead or thinking of the future. Planning does not apply to the past.
  4. Planning is continuous – Planning is a continuous process because after a plan is formulated, changes in the environment must be monitored and the best ways of dealing with them must be found.
  5. Planning involves decision-making – Planning is performed only when different alternatives are available and the most suitable alternative has to be selected.

The importance of planning includes

  1. Planning provides direction
  2. Planning reduces the risk of uncertainties
  3. Planning promotes innovative ideas
  4. Planning facilitates decision making
  5. Planning focuses attention on organizational objectives

Example of Planning – Google

Google will partner with the Indian government to train 2 million developers. One of the biggest impediments faced is the various languages spoken across the country.

Google will address this issue by training local developers. This is expected to help their apps gain traction, driving downloads and possibly in-app purchases.

Google will install Wi-Fi hotspots in 100 train stations across India in 2016, providing access to 10 million passengers daily.

Standing Plans

These plans are made for repeated use over time. They are formulated to guide managerial decisions and actions on recurring problems. They are also called “repeated use” plans because they provide guidelines for actions to be taken in the future. These plans are made for handling non-recurring problems.

They are also called “specific plans” because they are meant for solving a particular problem.

Purpose or Mission – A mission or purpose identifies an organization’s basic function or task.

Objectives – Objectives or goals are the ends toward which every activity is aimed. They specify the results that are to be achieved

Policies – Policies are general statements or understandings that provide managers with guidance for decision-making.

Strategies – The word “strategy” was long used in the context of military action plans. It was used to define plans in response to what the adversary was expected to do.

Planning is an important process in an organization. Therefore, the planning process should be performed systematically.

Steps in Planning

  1. Determination of objectives
  2. Collection and forecasting of Information
  3. Development of planning premises
  4. Discovering alternative courses of action
  5. Selection of best alternative
  6. Formulation of a derivative plan
  7. Communicating the plan
  8. Follow-up measures

The limitations of planning are

  1. Planning is costly
  2. Planning is a time-consuming process
  3. Planning reduces employee initiative
  4. Capital invested in fixed assets limits planning
  5. Inaccuracy in planning

According to Urwick, the essentials of a good plan are as follows

  1. It should be based on a clearly defined objective.
  2. It must be simple.
  3. It should be rational and appropriate.
  4. It should be comprehensive.
  5. It should enable a proper analysis and classification of actions.
  6. It must be flexible.
  7. It must be balanced.
  8. All available resources and opportunities must be used fully before creating new authorities and new resources.
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Article by:

Runal Mehta

Runal brings in more than a decade’s worth of experience in the field of consulting and education. He loves writing research oriented articles at Digiaide.