Planning process is defined as the development of strategies, schedules, and goals needed to accomplish objectives of a given business. Planning process is a vital management function because it improves business methods employed by a company and constitutes the following principles:
Principle of timing: the setup of business’s plan should be done in an organized way. Time hierarchy should be used to organize the plan; also the means to accomplish those plans should be determined. Time delay in any step of planning might affect the overall set objective.
Principle of flexibility: business environments keep on changing and for a corporate to keep up with unexpected environmental changes, the plans should be flexible. Flexible plans enable corporates to adjust to changes rapidly and offer smooth transition to the new changes (Brickner & Cope, 1977).
Principles of acceptance: employees are the ones who implement plans. For the plans to be implemented successfully, they must be accepted and understood clearly. This can be achieved when the employees are fully committed to what they are undertaking. There should be clear communication channel between top management and junior employees as this plays a critical role in ensuring that plans are clearly understood.
Principle of efficiency: planning is process of organizing and arranging activities in order to achieve a desired objective. For a plan implementation to be successful, it requires the incorporation of physical resources, human labor, and financial input. Achieving effective use of resources, minimizing implementation and formulation cost should be the goal of a plan. The plans must be efficient for the organization to make more profit.
Principle of coordinated planning: plans have different steps and different ways of implementation. Therefore, plans have different durations of implementation, for instance, short term and long term plans. Plans should be coordinated to come up with a plan that’s integrated whereby long term plans contribute to achievement of short term plans.
Principle of contribution: the sole objective of planning is to achieve corporate’s set objectives and goals. The plans should therefore be reasonable, achievable, and should not be over ambitious. In addition, the corporate should also invest adequately in the implementation.
Principles of limiting factors: plan implementation encounters several obstacles and challenges. These limiting factors may make companies fail in terms of achieving their ultimate objectives and targets if they are not addressed. These factors are unskilled labor, unfavorable government policies, inadequate financial resources etc.
Principle of consistent and sound premising: environmental factors such as legal policies, politics, market and economic conditions are always present. Hence, plans being formulated and implemented should take these factors into account.
Principles of commitment: for the set objectives to be met, top management and employees will have to be committed to their work. Commitment ensures that plans are implemented and all the steps outlined in the plan are adhered to.
Principle of navigational change: business environment is always dynamic. Since plans should always conform to the status quo, they should be reviewed regularly. This is achieved through redefining strategies, policies, and objectives of the company.
Plan phasing is very instrumental as it divides the whole planning process into phases for easy implementation. Here, the project development team convert ideas into practical plans and devise ways of achieving them. Branches are used by planners to group similar planning steps and then different departments of an organization are a particular task to work on.
Planning horizon is future time period a company looks into as it prepares its plans. This helps the company devise new ways or change policies in order to meet the new timeline. Forward reverse planning can be applied to open-ended problems encountered during planning process; where the answer is neither right nor wrong. The aim here is to gain perspective
Strategic planning is a process where a company defines its strategy and decides on what has to be done to achieve this strategy. Strategic planning aids in the implementation of plans by coming up with goals, setting direction, and formulating objectives for the company. It can be seen as a guide to be used by the management. Operational planning on the other hand avails detailed information which is then used specifically by employees to carry out their day-to-day activities to ensure smooth running and operation of the company. Operational plan should be used by top management and employees as reference as they carry out their daily activities.
Tactical planning puts more emphasis on current operations of the organization as asserted by (Kaufman & Roger, 1992). Tactical plans outline what must be done in order to in the short term in order to achieve the set objectives.Implementation of a strategic planning begins with the organization’s mission; strategic plans put the entire organization into consideration. These plans are designed and executed by top level management and then used as framework to be used as lower-level planning. Tactical planning helps in implementing strategic plans by converting them into specific plans that are relevant to a particular section of the organization. Tactical planning is charged with the responsibility of lower departments to realize strategic plans.
Implementation of operational planning is conducted by the low- level managers; they are focused on processes and procedures occurring within organization’s bottom level. This planning can be implemented for ongoing or single-use plans.
Brickner, W. H. & Cope, D. M. (1977). The planning process. Cambridge, MA: Winthrop.
Kaufman, Roger (1992). Strategic planning plus: An organizational guide (revised Ed.).
Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
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