Everything you need to know about ‘Planning in Management’. Planning is a primary function of management. All other functions of organizing, staffing, directing and controlling must reflect planning function of management.
Though more important for higher levels, planning is the function of every manager. Before starting any task, every manager formulates strategies of how to do that particular task.
Planning bridges the gap between ‘where we are’ and ‘where we want to be.’ Planning is an intellectual process.
Planning is the determination of courses of actions to achieve the desired results. Thus, it is a process of thinking before doing.
Learn about what is planning as explained by various management thinkers, experts and authors.
Planning in Management: Everything you Need to Know
What is Planning in Management – According to Stephen Robbins, Koontz and O’Donnel, Tansik and Chase and Andrew Szilagyi
Planning is an essential management task and good management starts with planning. Planning is foreseeing our desired objectives, anticipating problems and developing solutions. Lack of planning is like riding a rudderless ship. Planning is the beginning of reality. It tells us where we want to go. Stephen Robbins says, “Planning gives direction to managers and non-manager alike. A lack of planning can foster “zigzagging” and thus prevent an organisation from moving efficiently towards its objectives.”
Planning is deciding in advance about a future course of action. It is deciding what needs to be done, when and how it needs to be done, and who is to do it. It is the process through which managers determine goals and devise ways of accomplishing them. It is concerned with ends (what is to be done) as well as means (how it is to be done).
It involves selecting missions and objectives and the actions to achieve them. It bridges the gap from where we are to where we want to go. It requires anticipating future and decision making that is, choosing from among alternative future courses of action. It provides the blueprints of actions to achieve goals.
In the words of Koontz and O’Donnell, “Planning is an intellectually demanding process; it requires the conscious determination of courses of action and the basing of decisions on purpose, knowledge, and considered estimates.”
In the words of Tansik and Chase, “Planning is the process of setting a course of action designed to accomplish given goals in a predicted environment.”
According to Andrew Szilagyi “Planning is the set of policies, procedures, and methods used by managers to achieve their stated goals.”
Thus, planning is an intellectual process of making decisions towards a course of action for the future. It is anticipating the future and determining in advance a line of action to achieve better results. It is deciding in the present what has to be done in future.
What is Planning?
Planning is an analytical thought process which covers:
(1) Assessment of the future;
(2) Determination of objectives and goals in the light of the future;
(3) The development of alternative courses of action to achieve such objectives; and
(4) Selection of the best course of action among these alternatives.
Assessment of the future reveals opportunities available to us and probable threats or risks to be surmounted. On the basis of adequate knowledge of our capabilities and weaknesses as well as the limiting factors particularly with reference to our resources, we can select the best strategy or a course of action to capitalise the opportunities, to meet risks and to achieve our objectives.
A wise manager looks within, around and ahead before he decides to take action or leap in the competitive market. Wisdom is a keen interest in the future and planning is a rational activity based on foresight and knowledge.
Planning is deciding in advance who will do what at a certain time and how it is to be achieved. Its focus is on making things happen. It is the first management function. Planning involves the determination of objectives based on intelligent forecasting and the development of a precise programme to achieve the objectives.
Planning in business is an on-going process because changes in business environment are continuous. A business enterprise i: not living in a vacuum. It is an open, adaptive social sub-system living in a dynamic world, always trying to adapt itself to (and if possible, even to influence) the ever-changing conditions of demand, supply, prices, competition, technology, government policies, etc.
Someone has said:
“If you do not know where you are going, no road will get you there.” If this view is considered right, it is clear that individual and organisational activity without a plan is likely’ to be ineffective. An individual or organisation will drift and may never achieve success until a manager defines what it is and where it should go, i.e., until a manager evolves a plan, formal or informal, written or unwritten. In the absence of planning, it will amount to groping in the dark (searching blindly).
A plan is a predetermined course of action to achieve a specified aim or goal. It is a statement of objectives to be attained by certain means in the future. A plan is based on reliable information, and not on emotions and feelings. It reflects vision, foresight and wisdom. It is a blue-print for action.
What is Planning in Management – According to Koontz and O’Donnel
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 is an analytical thought process which covers- (1) analysis of the situation or environment, (2) assessment of the future opportunities and threats, (3) determination of objectives and goals in the light of the future environmental forces, and (4) selection of the best strategy or the course of action from among the alternative strategies to achieve the objectives.
A business enterprise is an open, adaptive and socio-economic system living in a dynamic environment. Situation analysis reveals the non-controllable and changing factors, e.g., customer needs and wants, customer behaviour, competition, political, economic, social, and legal climate (plus internal company bottlenecks).
Business environment conditions can point out probable marketing opportunities as well as marketing problems, e.g., competition, changing buyer behaviour and life-styles. A wise manager looks within, around, and ahead before he decides to take action or leap in the competitive and dynamic market.
Assessment of the future reveals opportunities available to as well as probable threats or risks to be surmounted. On the basis of adequate knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses as well as the limiting factors particularly with reference to our material and human resources, we can select the best strategy or course of action to capitalise market opportunities, to meet and overcome risks and uncertainties and to achieve our predetermined objectives and goals.
According to Koontz and O’Donnel “Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it and who is to do it. Planning is simply a rational approach to accomplish an objective. It bridges the gap from where we are to where we want to go.” Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done.
What is the Function of Planning in Management?
Planning is a primary function of management. All other functions of organizing, staffing, directing and controlling must reflect planning function of management. Though more important for higher levels, planning is the function of every manager. Before starting any task, every manager formulates strategies of how to do that particular task.
Planning bridges the gap between ‘where we are’ and ‘where we want to be.’ Planning is an intellectual process. Planning is the determination of courses of actions to achieve the desired results.
Thus, it is a process of thinking before doing.
In a way planning seeks to answer to the following questions:
i. What is to be done?
ii. Why is to be done?
iii. Where shall it be done?
iv. Who will do it?
v. How will it be done?
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.
What is Planning – According to Koontz and O’Donnel, Haimann, M.E. Harley and Billey E. Goetz
Planning is the basic function of management. With it start the other functions of management. So long planning does not determine the objectives and the methods of achieving those objectives, the other functions like organising, staffing, leading and controlling are meaningless.
Planning forms that part of management which lays down the objectives and various activities to be done for the attainment of those objectives. Under this it is decided – what is to be done? How is it to be done? When is to be done and by whom is it to be done? Deciding about all these things is called planning. A problem about taking decisions on these matters arises when there are more than one possible answers. Therefore, it can be said to be a process of choosing.
Some of the important definitions of planning are as under:
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.”
According to Haimann, “Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done”.
According to M. E. Harley,”Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done. It involves the selection of objectives, policies, procedures and programmes from among alternatives”.
According to Billy E. Goetz, “Planning is fundamentally choosing and a planning problem arises only when alternative course of action is discovered”.
The definitions tell us that planning involves choosing and its chief objective is to anticipate the future course of events and give it a desired direction. In reality planning becomes necessary when there are many alternatives to choose from.
Planning in Management – Henry Fayol, Kenneth H. Killen, George R. Terry, George A. Steiner, Heinz Weihrich, Mark V. Cannice, Harold Koontz, Thomas S. Baetman and Scott A. Snell
“Management is to forecast, to plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control”. — Henry Fayol
“Planning is the process of deciding in advance what is to be done, who is to do it, how it is to be done and when it is to be done”. — Kenneth H. Killen
“Planning is the selecting and relating of facts and the making and using of assumptions regarding the future in the visualization and formulation of proposed activities believed necessary to achieve desired results”. — George R. Terry
“Planning is a process that begins with objectives; defines strategies, policies and detailed plans to achieve them; which establishes an organization to implement decisions; and includes a review of performance and feedback to introduce a new planning cycle”. — George A. Steiner
“Planning involves selecting missions and objectives and deciding on the actions to achieve them; it requires decision making that is choosing a course of action amongst all alternatives”. — Heinz Weihrich, Mark V. Cannice and Harold Koontz
“Planning is the conscious, systematic process of making decisions about goals and activities that an individual, group, work unit or organization will pursue in the future. Planning is not an informal or haphazard response to a crisis; it is a purposeful effort that is directed and controlled by managers and often draws on the knowledge and experience of employees throughout the organization”. —Thomas S. Bateman and Scott A. Snell
Planning in Management – According to Management Thinkers
Planning is the process of thinking before doing. It may be defined as deciding in advance what is to be done in future. It involves determination of goals as well as the activities required to be undertaken to achieve these goals. Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when and by whom.
In the planning process, managers anticipate the future and accordingly decide what activities must be undertaken. Planning is a purposeful dealing which contributes in getting the predetermined resultant accordingly. Planning means looking ahead and chalking out future courses of action to be followed. It is a preparatory step.
Planning takes into consideration available and prospective human and physical resources of the organisation so as to get effective coordination, contribution and perfect adjustment. It is the basic management function which includes formulation of one: or more detailed plans to achieve optimum balance of needs or demands with the available resources.
As such, it is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior. This thought process is essential to the creation and refinement of a plan, or integration of it with other plans, i.e., it combines forecasting of developments with the preparation of scenarios of how to react to them.
James Lundy defines planning as, “Planning means the determination of what is to be done, how and where it is to be done, who is to do it and how results are to be evaluated”.
Koontz and O’ Donnel opine, “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 from where we are to where we want to go. It makes it possible for things to occur which would not otherwise happen”.
Henry Fayol opines, “Planning is deciding the best alternatives among others to perform different managerial operations in order to achieve the predetermined goals”.
George R. Terry states that “Planning is the selection and relating of facts and the making and using of assumptions regarding the future in the visualization and formulation of proposed activities believed necessary to achieve desired results”.
Planning is a detailed programme regarding future courses of action. It is rightly said “Well plan is half done”. Planning in organisations and public policy is both the organisational process of creating and maintaining a plan and the psychological process of thinking about the activities required to create a desired goal on some scale.
What is Planning – Meaning and Definition of Planning
Planning is essential in every walk of life. Each and every person has to frame a plan to proceed in his schemes. A person whether he is engaged in business or not, has framed a number of plans during his life. The plan period may be short or long. According to Arnold Toynbee, “One of the characteristics of being human is that he makes plan.”
Planning is the first and foremost function of management. All eminent writers have said that the planning function precedes all other managerial functions. Effective planning facilitates early achievement of objectives, which depends upon the efficiency of the planner. A planner is a person who frames a plan to put his schemes into practice.
The planner can develop his efficiency by preparing himself to face the future developments.
Planning is an intellectual process of thinking resorted to decide a course of action which helps achieve the pre-determined objectives of the organisation in future.
F.W. Taylor had pointed out in his report on Scientific Management, that planning is separated from execution. Separate plans are prepared for various departments; then, the top executive of the organisation takes steps to co-ordinate the various departmental plans.
Let us now study the definitions of various eminent writers in the field of management.
Koontz and O’Donnel, “Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it and who is to do it. It bridges the gap from where we are to where we want to go.”
According to Terry, “Planning is the selecting and relating of facts and the making and using of assumptions regarding the future in the visualization and formulation of proposed activities believed necessary to achieve desired results.”
M.S. Hurley, “Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done. It involves the selection of objectives, policies, procedures and programmes from among alternatives.”
Allen, “A plan is a trap laid to capture the future.”
Haynes and Massie, “Planning is that function of the manager in which he decides in advance what he will do, It is a decision-making process of a special kind. It is an intellectual process in which creative thinking and imagination are essential.”
Kast and Rosenzweig, “A plan is a determined course of action.”
H.Fayol, “Planning is deciding the best alternatives among others to perform different managerial operations in order to achieve the pre-determined goals.”
J.P. Barger, “Planning is an ability to visualize a future process and its results.”
W.H. Newman, “Generally speaking, planning is deciding in advance what is to be done, that is, a plan is a projected course of action.”
L. Urwick, “Planning is fundamentally a mental pre-disposition to do things in an orderly way, to think before acting and to get in the light of facts rather than of guesses.”
Theo Haimann, “Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done.” Peter F. Drucker, “Planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial (risk taking) decisions systematically and with best possible knowledge of their futurity, organizing, systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized, systematic feedback.”
Cyril L. Hudson, “To plan is to produce a scheme for future action; to bring about specified results, at specified cost, in a specified period of time. It is a deliberate attempt to influence, exploit, bring about and control the nature, direction, extent, speed and effects of change. It may even attempt deliberately to create change, remembering always that change (like decision) in anyone sector will in some way affect other sectors. Planning takes place at each managerial and supervisory level. Therefore, the overall plan must be made at the top and subsidiary plan making must be relevant to and consonant with the major plan. In short, planning must be a carefully controlled and co-ordinated activity.”
Hamilton Church, “Planning is, in essence, the exercise of foresight.”
Hodge and Johnson, “Planning is an attempt to anticipate the future in order to achieve better performance.”
Hart, “Planning is the determination in advance of a line of action by which certain results are to be achieved.”
Dalton E. Mc. Farland defines planning as – “Planning may be broadly defined as a concept of executive action that embodies the skills of anticipating, influencing and controlling the nature and direction of change.
Billy E. Goetz, “Planning is fundamentally choosing and a planning that arises only when an alternative course of action is discovered.”
Alford and Beatty, “Planning is the thinking process, the organised foresight, the vision based on fact and experience that is required for intelligent action.”
What is Planning – Views of Management Experts
Management starts with planning. Good management starts with good planning.
Planning is the most basic function of management. Planning is automatic and all pervading. Though everything is done under a plan, yet the nature and extent of planning may be different. Planning is preparatory step for action. The term ‘planning’ means systematized pre-thinking for determining a course of action to achieve some desired results. Planning is essentially a process of making decisions regarding the future. Planning and forecasting are two essential conditions for the success of any human activity.
Planning means looking ahead or thinking before acting, i.e., anticipating problems and developing their solution. Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done, when and where it is to be done, how it is to be done and by whom. It is a projected course of action.
It involves the functions of decision making and problem solving, i.e., the selection of business objectives from amongst the various alternatives and deciding the future course of action for achieving those objectives. “It is a kind of future picture wherein proximate events are outlined with some distinctness whilst remote events appear progressively less distinct”.
According to Henry Sick – Planning is defined as “the relevant information from the past and the present and the assignment of the probable future development so that a course of action may be determined to enable the organisation to meet its objectives”.
Planning formally correlates the organisation to its present and future environment. Once the objectives are chosen, the manager has to formulate policies and programme to achieve them within a certain specified time. He has to decide what is to be done, how, when and where it is to be done and who is to do it. Planning is the most important step in the process of getting results by adjusting present actions in view of the established goals. It enables the management to be a step ahead of each activity.
In the words of Fayol – “Planning means to assess the future and make provision for it”.
Terry has defined a plan as a “predetermined integrated programme. It requires ability to foresee, to look ahead purposefully”.
Planning includes determination of the objectives, policies, rules, programmes, strategies, budgets and procedures. The task of planning is to minimize the risk and to give at the same time full advantage of the available opportunities.
It bridges the gap from where we are and where we want to go. Good planning must be flexible and capable of adjustment to the changing circumstances. Planning may be for the entire enterprise as a whole and also for each department of the enterprise. It may be short-term as well as long-term. It is an essential preliminary to every effective action.
Planning pervades all managerial activity. It is an intellectual process. It is always goal -oriented. It is a primary function and involves a choice between alternative courses of action. It is an interdependent and a consistent process. It is direct towards efficiency.
Without a plan you will never succeed. If you happen to make it to the goal, it will have been by luck or chance and is not repeatable. You may make it as a flash in the pan, an overnight sensation, but you will never have the track record of accomplishments of which success is made.
Figure out what your goal is (or listen when your boss tells you). Then figure out the best way to get there. What resources do you have? What can you get? Compare strengths and weaknesses of individuals and other resources.
Will putting four workers on a task that takes 14 hours cost less than renting a machine that can do the same task with one worker in 6 hours? If you change the first shift from an 8 AM start to a 10 AM start, can they handle the early evening rush so you don’t have to hire an extra person for the second shift?
Look at all the probable scenarios. Plan for them. Figure out the worst possible scenario and plan for that too. Evaluate your different plans and develop what, in your best judgment, will work the best and what you will do if it doesn’t.
What is Planning – With Definition
Planning is the first function of a manager. It provides the necessary guidelines for effective decision making for the entire organisation. Since all future actions in the organisation will be based on plans, planning must be careful and thoughtful. Planning bridges the gap between the present (where we are) and the future (where we want to be).
It may not be possible to make things happen without planning. Not planning means leaving events to chance. It is necessary to gain control over future events. Planning helps managers do things in an orderly way. It is necessary ‘to think’ on the basis of available data before taking a particular decision.
In the words of Koontz and O’Donnel, planning ‘involves selecting missions, objectives and the actions to achieve them; it requires decision making, that is choosing from among alternative future courses of action’.
Planning is both a managerial function and an independent process by itself. As a process, it is concerned with –
a. Identifying goals,
b. Exploring different alternatives to achieve them.
c. Evaluating each alternative.
d. Selecting the best alternative for implementation.
Planning is a systematic development of action. It involves choice and ends with the selection of the best alternative. Planning is ‘deciding in advance what is to be done in future’. What is to be done in future becomes clear when objectives, policies, procedures and programmes are selected from the best course of action.