Planning Processes and Techniques
Manager’s need the ability to look ahead, make good plans, and help themselves
and others meet the challenges of the future. The future is full of uncertainty; the
likelihood is that even the best of plans will have to be adjusted and changed at
some point. Managers need the insight and courage to be flexible in response to
new circumstances. They also need the discipline to stay focused on goals even as
complications and problems arise.
WHYAND HOW MANAGERS PLAN
Management process was described as planning, organizing, leading, and
controlling the use of resources to achieve performance objectives.
Planning, sets the stage for the others by providing a sense of direction. It is a
process of setting objectives and determining how best to accomplish them.
Planning involves deciding exactly what you want to accomplish and how best to go
IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING
When planning is done well, it creates a solid platform for the other management
functions: organizing- allocating and arranging resources to accomplish task;
leading-guiding the efforts of human resources to ensure high levels of task
accomplishment; and controlling-monitoring task accomplishments and taking
necessary corrective action.
In today’s demanding organizational and career environment, it is essential to stay
one step ahead of the competition.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
Planning should focus attention on objectives that identify the specific results or
desired outcomes that one intends to achieve.
Planning should also create a real plan, a statement of action steps to be taken in
order to accomplish the objectives
Planning should result in plans being well implemented so that objectives are
Planning involves five steps:
1) Define your objectives
2) Determine where you stand vis-à-vis objectives
3) Develop premises regarding future conditions
4) Analyze alternatives and make a plan 5) Implement the plan and evaluate results
Planning is an ongoing process, often continuously being done even while dealing
with an otherwise busy and demanding work setting.
BENEFITS OF PLANNING
The pressures organizations face come from many sources.
Externally, these include ethical expectation, government regulations, uncertainties
of a global economy, changing technologies, and the sheer cost of investment in
labour, capital, and other supporting resources.
Internally, they include the quest for operating efficiencies, new structures and
technologies, alternative work arrangements, greater diversity in the workplace, and
related managerial challenges.
Planning improves focus and flexibility
Focus and flexibility are important for performance success.
An organization with focus knows what it does best, knows the needs of its
customers, and knows how to serve them well.
An organization with flexibility is willing and able to change and adapt to shifting
circumstances, and operates with an orientation toward the future rather than the
past. It also adjust career plans to fit new and developing opportunities.
Planning improves action orientation
Planning is a way for people and organizations to stay ahead of the competition and
become better at what they are doing.
It keeps the future visible as a performance target and reminds us that the best
decisions are often those made before events force problems upon us.
It helps avoid the complacency trap- simply being carried along by the flow of
A good planning makes:
1) Results oriented- creating performance oriented sense of direction
2) Priority oriented- making sure the most important things get first attention
3) Advantage oriented- ensuring that all resources are used to best advantage
4) Change oriented- anticipating problems and opportunities so they can be best
Planning improves coordination and control When plans are coordinated among people and subsystems, there is greater
likelihood that their combined accomplishment will advance performance for the
When planning is done well, it also facilitates control.
The first step in the planning process is to set objectives and standards, and this is a
prerequisite to effective control.
The objectives set by good planning make it easier to measure results and take
action to improve things as necessary.
If the results are less than expected, either the objectives or the actions being taken,
or both, can be evaluated and adjusted.
Without planning, control lacks objectives and standards for measuring how well
things are going and what could be done to make them go better.
Without control, planning lacks the follow-through needed to ensure that things work
out as planned.
PLANNING AND TIME MANAGEMENT
TYPES OF PLANS USED BY MANAGERS
Managers use a variety of plans as they face different challenges in the flow and
pace of activities in organizations.
In some cases, the planning environment is stable and quite predictable; in others, it
is more dynamic and uncertain.
Different needs call for different types of plans.
LONG-RANGE AND SHORT-RANGE PLANS
Generally, long-range plans look 3 or more years into the future, intermediate-range
plans cover one to two years, and short-range plans cover one or less.
Top management is most likely to be involved in setting long-range plans and
directions for the organization as a whole, whereas lower management levels focus
more on short-run plans that help achieve long-term objectives.
Unless everyone understands an organization’s long-term plans, there is always a
risk that the pressures of daily events will divert attention from important tasks.
Without a sense of long-term direction, people can end up working hard and still not
achieve significant results.
STRATEGIC AND TACTICAL PLANS At the top of the traditional organization pyramid, senior executives deal mainly with
strategic plans, in the middle, managers deal with tactical plans; at lower levels,
managers focus on operating plans.
A strategic plan identifies long-term directions for the organization.
Strategic planning is part of the strategic management process
It begins with a vision that clarifies the purpose of the organization and express what
it hopes to be in the future, and it involves determining the goals and objectives that
will be pursued in order to accomplish that vision.
Even though strategic plans are long term, they are also dynamic.
Tactical plans are developed and used to implement strategic plans.
They tend to be intermediate- term plans that specify how the organization’s
resources can be used to put strategies into action.
In business tactical plans often take the form of functional plans that indicate how
different components of the enterprise will contribute to the overall strategy.
Such functional plans might include:
- Production plans: dealing with work methods and technologies
- Financial plans: dealing with money and capital investment
- Facilities plans: dealing with facilities and work layouts
- Logistics plans: dealing with suppliers and acquiring resources inputs
- Marketing plans: dealing with selling and distributing good or services
- HR plans: dealing with building a talented workforce
Operational plans describe what needs to be done in the short term a