Everything you need to know about the characteristics and features of planning. Planning is the first management function to be performed in the process of management. It governs survival, growth and prosperity of any enterprise in a competitive and ever-changing environment.

Planning means looking ahead and chalking out future courses of action to be followed. It is rightly said “Well plan is half done”.

Planning deals with future and involves forecasting. But mere forecasting is not planning. Planning requires assessing the future and providing resources for it.

Thus, planning involves thinking and analysis of information, arriving at certain assump­tions in connection with what is likely to happen in the future and then formulating the activities required to achieve desired results or goals or objectives.


Some of the characteristics and features of planning are:-

1. Intellectual Process 2. A Primary Function 3. A Continuous Function of Management 4. Pervasive Function 5. Contributes to Objectives 6. Higher Efficiency 7. Flexibility 8. Consistency 9. Future-Oriented

10. Decision-Oriented 11. Goal-Oriented 12. Interdependent Process 13. Leads to Efficiency and Economy 14. Considers Limiting Factors and Few Others.

Characteristics and Features of Planning – The First Function of Management

Characteristics of Planning – Intellectual Process, Primary Function, Continuous Function and Pervasive Function

The essential nature of planning can be highlighted by the following major aspects of planning:


(i) Planning – An Intellectual Process:

Planning requires application of mind involving foresight, intelligence, imagina­tion & sound judgment. Moreover, planning requires logical and systematic thinking based on analysis of facts and forecasts rather than a guess work. It requires thinking about ‘what, how, when, by whom’ etc. Decision making requires competence, ability and experience. Thus, planning is a mental or thinking or intellectual process as it involves decision making i.e. choosing one alternative out of several available.

(ii) Planning – A Primary Function:

All the management activities start with planning. All other functions like organizing, staffing, directing and controlling are based on planning. It precedes the execution of all other managerial functions and allows managers to organize, staff, direct and control the activities in a better way so as to achieve organizational goals.


All the activities are created in such a way that plans are easily carried out. Control, for example, is a necessary result of planning and cannot exist without planning.

(iii) Planning – A Continuous Function of Management:

Planning process begins with the establishment of an organization and continues as long as the enterprise is in existence. It is to be performed in all situations and at all levels of work. Planning is done for specific period, as soon as existing period get complete there is a requirement of new plans again. Also, due to dynamic business environment, continuous changes are required to be made in the existing plans. This makes the planning a continuous process.

(iv) Planning – A Pervasive Function:


Planning is not only the function of top management or any particular department. It is required at all levels of management be it higher level, middle level or lower level; and even at all departments of an organisation. However, the scope and nature of planning is different at different levels and in different departments.

For example – The top management formulates the plans and policies for the organisation as a whole. Middle level management has to make plans for each department and the plans regarding the daily operations of an organisation are laid down by operational management. Here, it can be seen that planning is not restricted to top management.

Characteristics of Planning – Primary Planning, Contribute to Objectives, Intellectual Activity, Higher Efficiency, Flexibility and Consistency  

Planning decides the objectives, goals and course of action in advance and the method of implementing and achieving the plans. Planning aims at achieving the goals more economically and accurately. It is the basic management function.

The characteristics of planning includes:


(i) Primary Planning:

Planning is the primary and basic function among the management functions viz., planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling. In fact, all other functions follow the function of planning. Managers first perform the planning function and then perform all other functions.

(ii) Contributes to Objectives:

Organisational objectives specify the purpose for which the organisations are established. These objectives are converted into goals. Managers perform the planning function in order to achieve the goals and objectives. Thus planning contributes to the achievement of objectives.


(iii) Intellectual Activity:

Planning includes foreseeing the future environmental opportunities and threats. Further, it includes acquiring organisational strengths and eliminating weaknesses in order to match these strengths and environmental opportunities. It also includes strengthening the organisation to face the environmental challenges and threats.

Managers develop alternative courses, evaluate these alternatives and select the best course Managers should have intellectual ability and multiple skills to perform planning effectively. Thus, planning is an intellectual activity.

(iv) Higher Efficiency:


Efficiency is the ratio between input and output. Achieving more output with the same input and/or reducing the input to achieve the same output is referred to as efficiency. Planning minimises the input and maximises output. Thus, planning maximises organisational efficiency.

(v) Flexibility:

Planning should proact and react to the environmental changes. Liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation make the external environment more dynamic. This in turn results in high competitiveness and customer-centred production and marketing.

In addition, customer tastes and preferences have been changing at a fast rate. All these factors made the business firms to introduce total quality management (TQM) and business process reengineering (BPRE). Planning function has acquired the character of flexibility in view of these developments.

(vi) Consistency:

Managers at different levels formulate plans based on the internal and external environmental factors. Therefore, planning should be in consistence with the strengths of the firm and opportunities provided by the external environment. Similarly, planning at the departmental level should be in consistence with the corporate level plans.

Characteristics of Planning – By James Lundi,  Earl Strong, Hamilton Church, Billy E. Goetz, Koontz and Weihrich, Fayol and Ackoff

1. Primary task of management—Planning is the first fundamental function of management. It must occur before any of the other managerial functions. Without planning, the other functions—organising, directing, con­trolling etc. cannot be executed effectively. James Lundi writes, “as a preliminary activity, planning results in the development of a framework within which co-ordinating, motivating and controlling can be undertaken.”


2. Intellectual process—Planning is a process of orderly thinking. While planning, managers have to think about future, as well as about organisational strengths and weaknesses. It requires an ability to visualize the future. It involves processes of perception, analysis and thought.

3. Future-oriented—It is a process of looking ahead. Earl Strong says, “Planning is anticipating.” Hamilton Church writes, “Planning is, in essence, the exercise of foresight.” It is looking into the future before the situation actually occurs.

4. Decision-oriented—The planning process involves decision making that specifies actions necessary to achieve future goals. Billy E. Goetz writes, “Planning is essentially choosing and a planning problem arises when an alternative course is discovered.”

5. Goal-oriented—Planning is focused on those efforts necessary to achieve future end-states. It is associated with the goals of the organisation. Koontz and Weihrich write, “Plans provide a rational approach to preselected objec­tives.”

6. Forecasting is the essence of planning—Planning has the central concern with the future. Fayol says, “It is assessing the future and making provision for it.” Ackoff writes, “Planning is anticipatory decision making.” It is evaluation and analysis of future in advance. But, Fulmer says, “Planning is more than forecasting.” It is the means of bridging the gap to the future.


7. Pervasive function—Planning is a function of every manager, although the character and type of planning may vary with his formal power. It is applicable at every level of managerial hierarchy. Koontz and Donnell write, “All managers—from presidents to foremen—plan. And planning must filter through the entire scope of manage­ment, from top to bottom.”

8. Planning and action are twins of management— Koontz and O’donnell write, “Plans alone cannot make an enterprise successful. Action is required, the enterprise must operate. Plans must focus on action. Without plans, action must become merely random activity, producing nothing but chaos.” The alternative to a plan is disorder.

Characteristics of Planning – 12 Characteristics of Planning

The following are the characteristics or nature of planning:

(1) Planning is an Intellectual Process:

Planning is chiefly an intellectual process which means ‘thinking before doing’. The success of planning depends on the manager and his ability to collect the facts which are likely to affect planning-whether these facts are connected with the present situation or the estimated future changings; how correctly he studies and evaluates these facts; and how correctly he takes his decisions on their basis.

The whole process happens to be intellectual and for the successful completion of all these activities the planner should have far-sightedness, imaginative power and decision – making capacity.


A planner should mainly consider the following questions:

(i) What is to be done?

(ii) How is it to be done?

(iii) When is it to be done?

(iv) By whom is it to be done?

Taking decisions on all these questions depends on the competence of the planner. Therefore, it can be said that planning requires thinking at every step. Hence, it can be considered as an intellectual process.


(2) Planning is Selection of the Best Alternative:

The second important characteristic of planning is the selection of the best alternative. There can be many ways of doing a work and the planner selects the best possible alternative. Therefore, it can be said that planning involves the selection of the best alternative and rejection of the inappropriate ones.

(3) Planning is all Pervasive:

It will be appropriate to describe planning as ail pervasive because it operates at all the levels of management in an enterprise. It is an important function of every manager to plan things whether he is a managing director or simply a foreman in a factory. Some people are of the opinion that planning is the job of only the high-level managers but it is not true.

It can, however, be admitted that the high level managers spend more time in comparison to the middle-level or lower-level managers in the work of planning. It is, therefore, clear that all the managers working in an enterprise have to plan their activities.

(4) Planning is the Primary Function of Management:


Planning is the primary function of management and all other functions like organising, staffing, leading and controlling come later. In the absence of planning no other function of management can be completed. Undoubtedly planning is the first function of management but it does not mean that after planning when other functions start it is not needed.

In reality planning is required in the performance of other functions of management. Without planning neither organisation can be created, nor staffing can be done. Similarly, planning is needed in case of leading and controlling.

(5) Planning is Forecasting:

Planning always takes into consideration the future. Under planning, on the basis of collected facts, the future is anticipated and proper decision taken. Thus, we can say that forecasting is the essence of planning.

(6) Planning is a Continuous Process:

Planning is that process which begins with the establishment of the organisation and ends with the organisation. In other words, the process of planning continues so long as the organisation continues to exist. A manager starts planning before the work is started and when one work is accomplished planning for the other begins and this process continues. Thus, planning is a continuous process.

(7) Planning is Flexible:

Planning involves forecasting the future which is uncertain. It is quite possible that the basis of the forecast made by the manager or the facts on which he makes his planning undergo some changes after sometime. In case he finds any such thing happening, he immediately brings in changes in his planning according to the changed facts or situations. It can thus be said that planning is a flexible process.

(8) Planning is Goal-Oriented:

An enterprise in established with some pre-determined objectives and planning tells us how to achieve those objectives. First of all the objectives of the organisation are determined and then planning is made to achieve them. Therefore, it is clear that planning without some objectives is meaningless.

(9) Planning is an Interdependent Process:

The activities of an enterprise are divided into many departments like Purchase department, Sales department, Production department, Finance department, Personnel department, etc. All these departments have their own separate plans which are the parts of a master plan. All the departmental plans depend on one and other. If some change becomes necessary in the plan of a particular department due to some reason, the plans of all other departments have to be modified accordingly.

For example- if the sales department achieves more sales than the anticipated quantity, its plans shall have to be modified resulting in more purchases and production to cope with the demand of the sales department. This, in turn, necessitates changes in the plans of the purchase and production departments as well. Thus, the departmental planning depends on one and other.

(10) Planning Leads to Efficiency and Economy:

Planning makes it possible to utilise the available human and material resources in the most favourable manner in an organisation. Capital, labour, material, machinery, etc., are utilised in a manner to produce the maximum quantity of the best quality goods with minimum cost.

(11) Planning Considers Limiting Factors:

The quantity of available resources of production has to be kept in mind before planning. If a manager ignores the limited resources, planning is bound to fail. For example- if the raw material can be available upto a certain limit for a certain period, then the raw material will be the limited factor. Only after its availability is decided, the other activities like production, sales, etc., can be thought of.

(12) Planning Creates Coordination:

In any organisation coordination of all the activities is necessary to run the work unhindered. With the help of planning ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘when’, etc., of everything is clarified. Doubts are cleared and coordination is established. Planning makes it clear as to what is to be done, why it is being done, who will do it, where it will be done and when it will be done. On the other hand, without planning nobody will know what is to be done and what is not to be done.

Characteristics of Planning – With Nature of Planning

Planning is an integral part of management. A manager anticipates future problems, analyses them and anticipates their probable effect on the activities of the enterprise. It is continuously performed at every level of management.

The following discussion will explain the characteristics and nature of planning.

1. Planning, an Intellectual Process:

Planning is intellectual in nature; it is mental work. The facts relevant to the situation are related to the manager’s experience and knowledge. A planner must visualise the situations likely to develop in future. He should develop a future course of action to be taken for implementation of plans.

Decisions cannot be made on guess work. A mental exercise is required to foresee the pros and cons of various alternatives. The selection of best alternative from the available ones will require deep thinking. Planning may be an easy task for some while difficult for others, depending upon their capabilities. A planner has to think about the following aspects – (a) what is to be done? (b) How is it to be done? (c) When is it to be done? (d) By whom is it to be done?

A decision on these aspects will depend upon the capability of decision­-maker. Proper thinking about the practical aspects of various decisions will enable a right choice at the opportune moment.

2. Primacy of Planning:

Planning is the first function of a planner. Other functions like organising, staffing, directing, controlling, etc., are followed by planning. Without planning no other function can be performed. How can a manager set up an organisation without having a plan in mind? How can he appoint and direct staff without deciding the objections? It can be said that planning is the function that needs to be done first of all. The functions like organising, staffing, directing, controlling overlap.

It is not that the other can start only when first is completed. There may also be a need for re-planning or adjustment of planning. Controlling is one function which goes side by side with planning. One is incomplete without the other.

3. All Managers Plan:

Every manager in an organisation has a planning function to perform. It may also be said that planning is a fundamental managerial function. The pervasiveness of planning is generally over-looked. It is felt that planning is done at top levels only. This may be true to certain extent that people at top level devote most of their time to planning than the managers at middle and lower levels of management but every manager at his level of activity has to plan his activities.

The degree, importance and magnitude of planning depends on the level at which it is performed.

Planning at top level will be fundamental, broad, far-reaching and basic. The chief executive will see to it that persons at other levels of management do not plan beyond their purview. The scope and extent of planning tend to decrease as it goes to lower levels of management. All managers plan in the organisation irrespective of their rank in the hierarchy.

There is a difference of opinion as to whether planning and execution should be with the same persons or should be performed by different persons. One view is that planning should be an independent function and the planner may devote his full-time for this work.

The execution part should be exclusively in the purview of different persons. This will bring specialisation to these fields and will help in improving their performance. The other view is that both the functions should be undertaken by the same person. A planner will be able to execute his plans in a better way. This will help in coordination between planning and execution. A manager should plan as well as execute the things as he perceives them.

4. Planning – A Rational Approach:

Planning process is a rational approach to the achieving of organisational goals. An action is rational if it is objectively and intelligently decided. The aim of management is to reach the goals with the application of appropriate resources. Planning suggests a number of alternatives for reaching the goals. Future is always uncertain but planning process provides a rational approach for suggesting alternative approaches to various situations.

It is a problem to select an alternative which will help in achieving desired results. The balancing of ends and means is also in the purview of planning. Planning helps in taking rational decisions for achieving the goals of the enterprise.

5. Focus on Objectives:

An organisation employs a number of persons. Each one of them has different personality and attitude. There will be a difference of opinion about the objectives of the enterprise and the methods to achieve them. Planning focuses attention on setting up organisational objectives and suggests ways to achieve them.

The objectives influence the future course of every business. If the objectives are not properly set then the efforts spent on them will go waste. The main purpose of planning is to focus attention on setting up of appropriate objectives.

6. Leads to Efficiency and Economy:

Planning involves the efficient utilisation of various resources like capital, labour, machines, materials etc. Every factor of production is put to efficient and economical use so that the output, i.e., results, is more than the efforts employed. An effort is made to achieve organisational objectives with minimum resources. Planning helps in controlling duplication of efforts which also ensures economy.

7. Limiting Factors:

A planner should consider limiting factors like money, manpower, materials, market, etc., before taking up planning. If a planner ignores limiting factors then planning is bound to fail. The planning should start only after considering the availability of limiting factors. For example, a consideration may be of getting a quota for raw materials.

The availability of raw materials will be the limiting factor. The planner should first determine how much raw materials will be available during the period. The planning of other things like production, labour, marketing etc., should be consistent with that of raw materials.

8. Co-Ordination:

Co-ordination is essential for harmonious working of the organisation. Planning co-ordinates the what, who, how, why and where of planning. In the absence of planning different segments of the organisation may pursue divergent objectives.

9. Flexibility:

Planning process should be adaptable to the changing business environment. If planning is made rigid then it will not be able to achieve business goals. Planning is a dynamic process and it adjusts with the needs and requirements of the situations.

10. Realistic:

Planning is based on future forecasts. Though the future is always uncertain but the predictions should be as realistic as possible. The objectives should be realised with normal efforts. If planning is based on wishful thinking then it will not be possible to achieve the goals. Planning is always based on hard realities.

11. Planning is Continuous:

Planning is a never-ending activity of a manager. Planning is always tentative and subject to revision and amendment as new facts become known. Even in execution of planning there may be a change in settings and conditions necessitating modification on a somewhat continual basis.

Generally, managers follow the practice of re-examining plans regularly and modify them, if necessary, in view of the new situations. In this way, it will be possible to heed to new situations and overcome problems. Planning is necessary for situations when things are going well as well as when troubles are faced. All types of situations require continuous planning.

Characteristics of Planning – Constitutional, Operational and Desirable Features

Nature of planning depends on the features of planning which are grouped as follows:

1. Constitutional features

2. Operational features

3. Desirable features.

1. Constitutional Features:

The following features are grouped under this head:

i. Goal Orientation:

Each and every plan of both minor and major nature is supposed to accomplish the common objectives of an organization. Planning makes no sense when it is not related to the objectives or goals. Plan is a vehicle through which objectives are achieved. It starts with determination of objectives and ends with attainment of objectives. Without plan, action becomes a wasted effort. Every organization has some purpose and goals and the plan seeks to attain them. Plan focuses its attention on objectives.

ii. Primacy of Managerial Function:

Planning proceeds all other managerial functions. All other functions cannot be performed without the primary function of planning. It is only after planning the various activities, title structure of an organization is designed; the kind of human resources needed to accomplish the objective is determined; the type of direction is decided and the framework of controlling is put in place. It is clear that all other functions cannot be performed without performing planning function.

iii. Futurism:

Of course past is important in the sense that it helps in guiding into the future. But planning is done for the future, and the plans are made for the future. This requires looking ahead, analysing, forecasting and predicting the environment. The element of futurism makes planning forward-looking.

iv. Choice:

Planning is essentially choosing an activity. The planner should be skilled at choosing the best from the several alternatives. He has to choose the best objective among several ones. There may be several sources of action to accomplish the chosen objective. Thus an element of choice is to build in any plan.

v. Intellectual Exercise:

Planning is a mental exercise. In involves collection of data, analysis and interpretation of the outcome. Besides it requires one to forecast and predict the environment. Planner should have a good analytical ability, rich imagination and sound judgement. In other words, planning has nothing to do with physical activity.

2. Operational Features:

i. All Pervasiveness:

Planning is not a prerogative of the top management. Planning is done at all levels by heads and subordinates. But depth of planning varies with the authority delegated. While top management devotes much resources to formulate long term plans, middle and lower level managements invest resources to put in place short term plan within the larger framework of plans laid down by top management. Thus, planning at all levels contributes significantly to goal attainment.

ii. Range of Plans:

Plans are of two types viz., short term and long term. The short term plans cover a period of one year while the long range plans cover a period ranging from 3 to 5 years.

iii. Continuity:

Planning is not a one-time affair. It is a continuous process. Plans continue to exist till the organizations exist. Once the existing plans are executed, fresh plans are made in the light of changes in the internal and external environment. Managers keep a close watch on the dynamics in the environment and effect suitable modification in the existing plans. Thus planning is an ever continuing phenomenon in any organization.

3. Desirable Features:

i. Implementability:

Any plan should be such that it can be translated into action. It should be attainable with reasonable human efforts and available resources at the disposal. It should not sound overambitious or impracticable, that it cannot be put into practice for any reasons.

ii. Flexibility:

Plans should be such that it can be modified to the requirements of ever-charging environment. Sometimes, changes in the environment may be so sweeping that even the existing plans may have to be dropped or it may be reshaped altogether. Hence, plans should be alterable to respond to the changes.

iii. Integrability:

The department level plans, individual plans, short range and long range plans and so on should be laid down within the overall framework of plans.

iv. Efficiency:

A plan is said to be effective when the enterprise objective can be attained at the lowest possible cost. The gains accruing from plans should be greater that the cost incurred thereon. Unsought consequences should be minimum. For example, retrenching the work force implies lowering cost. The unsought consequence from the retrenchment is the loss of morale of existing workers and the consequent lower productivity. Hence the planner has to factor in such consequences in cost-benefit analysis of each plan.

Characteristics of Planning – Pervasive, Primary Function, Goal Oriented, Mental Exercise, Continuous Process, Futuristic, Flexible, and Involvement of Choice

Main features of planning are discussed below:

1. Pervasive:

Planning is mandatory at all levels of management as well as in all departments of the organisation. It is neither an exclusive function of top management nor of any particular department. Therefore, the scope of planning differs at various levels and among different departments.

2. A Primary Function:

Since planning is the primary function in the cycle of management, it precedes other managerial functions and all the other functions are performed within the setting of the plans drawn. Thus, it acts as a base for the various functions of management. The various functions of management are interrelated and equally important. However, planning provides the platform of all other functions.

3. Goal-Oriented:

Organisations are set up with an objective view. Specific goals are set out in the plans, along with the activities to be undertaken to achieve the goals. Thus, planning is purposeful. Planning has no meaning unless it is intermingled with the achievement of predetermined organisational goals.

4. A Mental Exercise:

Planning is an intellectual activity of thinking rather than doing. It requires application of mind, foresight, sound judgments and intelligent imagination. Planning determines what actions are to be taken in future. It involves logical and systematic thinking.

5. A Continuous Process:

Plans are contrived for a specific period of time, may be for a month, a quarter, or a year. At the end of that period, there is need for a new plan to be drawn as per the new requirements and future conditions. Hence, planning is a never-ending activity. It is an ongoing process.

6. Planning is Futuristic:

Planning essentially involves preparing for the future and marching ahead. The purpose of planning is to meet future events effectively to the best advantage of an organisation. It means peeping into the future, analyzing it and predicting it. Planning is regarded as a forward-looking action based on forecasting. Through forecasting, future events and conditions are anticipated and plans are drawn accordingly.

7. Planning is Flexible:

Plans are drawn on the grounds of forecasts. Since the future is uncertain, planning must cope with changes in future conditions. Activities planned with certain assumptions about the future may not come true. Under the circumstances the original plan of action must be revised in the light of changing conditions.

8. Involvement of Choice:

The need for planning arises only when alternatives are available. Actually, planning presupposes the existence of alternatives. Planning essentially involves choice out of various alternatives and activities. If there is one possible goal or only one possible course of action, there is no need for planning because there is no choice.

Characteristics of Planning – Top 14 Characteristics of Planning

The following are the essential characteristics of planning which describe the nature of planning:

1. Planning is Primary Function of Management:

The functions of management are broadly classified as planning, organisation, direction and control. It is thus, the first function of management at all levels. Since planning is involved at all managerial functions, it is rightly called as an essence of management.

2. Planning Focuses on Objectives:

Planning is a process to determine the objectives or goals of an enterprise. It lays down the means to achieve these objectives. The purpose of every plan is to contribute in the achievement of objectives of an enterprise.

3. Planning is a Function of all Managers:

Every manager must plan. A manager at a higher level has to devote more time to planning as compared to persons at the lower level. So the President or Managing Director in a company devotes more time to planning than the supervisor.

4. Planning is an Intellectual Process:

Planning is a mental work basically concerned with thinking before doing. It is an intellectual process and involves creative thinking and imagination. Wherever planning is done, all activities are orderly undertaken as per plans rather than on the basis of guess work. Planning lays down a course of action to be followed on the basis of facts and considered estimates, keeping in view the objectives, goals and purpose of an enterprise.

5. Planning is a Continuous Process:

Planning is a continuous and permanent process and has no end. A manager makes new plans and also modifies the old plans in the light of information received from the persons who are concerned with the execution of plans. It is a never ending process.

6. Planning is Dynamic (Flexible):

Planning is a dynamic function in the sense that the changes and modifications are continuously done in the planned course of action on account of changes in business environment. As factors affecting the business are not within the control of management, necessary changes are made as and when they take place. If modifications cannot be included in plans it is said to be bad planning.

7. Planning Secures Efficiency, Economy and Accuracy:

A pre-requisite of planning is that it should lead to the attainment of objectives at the least cost. It should also help in the optimum utilization of available human and physical resources by securing efficiency, economy and accuracy in the business enterprises. Planning is also economical because it brings down the cost to the minimum.

8. Planning Involves Forecasting:

Planning largely depends upon accurate business forecasting. The scientific techniques of forecasting help in projecting the present trends into future. “It is a kind of future picture wherein proximate events are outlined with some distinctness while remote events appear progressively less distinct.”

9. Planning has Limitations:

A plan should be formulated in the light of limiting factors which may be any one of five M’s viz., men, money, machines, materials and management.

10. Planning is Realistic:

A plan always outlines the results to be attained and as such it is realistic in nature.

11. Planning is all Pervasive:

The planning function extends throughout the organization. It is an essential aspect of management at all executive levels. Managers at would enable it to achieve its overall objectives. Middle level managers formulate departmental and functional plans for the medium term, while managers at the lowest level prepare operating and short-term plans. Thus, the scope, extend and nature of planning tend to vary at different levels of management.

12. Planning is Forward-Looking:

Planning is primarily concerned with anticipating the future, predicting future trends and preparing for them is an integral part of planning. Thus, accurate forecasting is essential for planning.

13. Planning is an Integrated Process:

Plans made at different levels are inter-dependent and inter-related. The top level of an organization develops strategic plans, on the basic of the middle level of management develops tactical plans. In turn, the lower level of management develops operational plans on the basic of tactical plans. Thus, plans constitute a hierarchy in the organization. Even though plans are made at different levels they should be in tandem with corporate objectives.

These plans can be either long-term plans or short term plans, whatever be the term of the plans, they should be well coordinated as to achieve the goals of the organization within a definite time horizon.

14. Planning Involves Choice:

Planning is essentially, a decision-making process that involves the selection of a suitable course of action. Usually, several alternatives are available for achieving a particular objective or set of objectives. Since all may not be equally feasible and suitable for the organization, only the best among the alternatives has to be selected. Thus, plans are the decisions made after evaluation of alternative courses of action.