what is planning?

In this chapter, we explain the planning process in management. The planning process is the primary function in management. This chapter covers about, a brief introduction about planning, how it’s important to the organization, what are the levels in this process and many more.

Learning outcomes

  • Understanding planning
  • The importance 
  • Characteristics of good planning
  • Levels of planning
  • The process of planning

 Understanding planning

Planning is the process of determining organizational goals & objectives and defining suitable procedures to accomplish those goals and objectives. This is the first basic functions in management and every step in this process interrelates with a decision. So this shows that where the organization wants to go and what should do to achieve what they desired.


The importance of planning

This is the first basic function is in the management process. Also, the rest of other functions (organizing, leading and controlling) depend on this function. Therefore this function plays a vital role in the organization.

  • Setting up organizational goals and objectives – The main role of this process is to establish goals and objectives for the organization and define means of achieving them. With goals and objectives, the organization knows where it wants to go and what should do.
  • The first basic function in management – Basically management can be defined as consist of planning, organizing, leading and controlling. If management is a train, its engine is planning. Because this provides guidance and directions to other management functions. Without planning, the rest of the other management functions cannot be processed.
  •  Involves decision making – This process helps managers to make a better decision for organizational success. They drive the organizational resources efficiently and effectively to accomplish establishes goals.
  • A good reason for the process of motivation – plans in the organization are clearly communicated to all management levels, therefore every manager gets a clear idea about what they should do to achieve what they want. It is a good motivation for everyone to achieve what they desired.
  • Interrelate with other managerial functions. – Management is a collection of planning, organizing, leading and controlling processes. as the first basic function, this process establishes goals & objectives for the organization. Then depending on those goals and objectives, the rest of other processes are working for it. It means, in the organizing process, the resources are properly arranged to accomplish organizational goals. And when it comes to the leading process, the managers, employees are motivated to get what they desired. And in the controlling process, analyze the actual performance in the organization with the established goals and objectives. So every process is interrelated with the planning process and it has the ability to influence on each process.
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Characteristics of good planning

Planning is the map of success for the organization. So every organization needs a good planning process to achieve its goals and objectives. Some characteristics of a good plan are as follows.

  • It should include clear, well-defined goals and objectives.
  • The plan should be simple and exhaustive.
  • Well balanced and flexibility
  • Time-bound
  • Practicability
  • It should be an economical plan for the organization.
  • The plan should be suitable for the organization.

Levels of planning

So this process is very important for every management level in the organization. So there are three levels of planning.  Strategic planning, intermediate planning, and operational planning are the three levels of planning.

When considering about strategic planning, it is the main type of plan that decide directions of the organization. Top management conduct this strategic plans and this plans have a long term time period up to ten years. These plans determine the overall objectives of the organization.

Intermediate planning (middle level) is deciding about the most effective and efficient mix of organizational resources. In this level of planning, the plans are conducted by middle-level managers or department heads (middle managers) in the organization. These plans cover a time period of about to six months to two years.

Operational planning is the process of converting strategic goals & objectives into technical goals & objectives. Basically these plans describe processes that need to finish for achieving the big vision of the organization. This helps to run the day to day activities in the organization with effectiveness and efficiency. These plans have a short term time period about one week or one year and this is a responsibility of lower management in the organization.

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Planning process

There are some several steps in this process

1.Environment analysis

The first step of the planning process is doing an environment analysis/situational analysis. The environment can be recognized as two parts. they are internal environment and, external environment. The factors of both environments can influence organizational performance directly or indirectly. So doing an environmental analysis is important and it helps to identify opportunities, weaknesses, strengths and threats in the organization

2.Determine goals and objectives

After analyzing the environment, the organization need to set up its goals and objectives. The goals and objectives show that what organization should achieve in the long-term as well as in the short-term.  

3.Convert goals into plans

The organization need to achieve determined goals and objectives. Those goals and objectives can be accomplished by using plans. There are three types of plans in the organization. Strategic plans, tactical plans and the operational plans are the three types of plan in the organization.

 The strategic plan refers to a plan that developed by top management to convert organizational goals into realities within the long term time period.

Tactical plans are conducted by middle management in the organization. This tactical plans helps to do major strategic plans. Also, it defines about what departments will do to accomplish the strategic plan. Tactical plans have a shorter time period than strategic plans.

Operational plans are developed by first-level management. This type of plans is used to run daily operations in the organization. Operational plans are supporting tactical plans and have a short-term time period.

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After understanding the plans, the managers and employees in the organization have to implement those plans by utilizing resources. Also, they need to be motivated for the implementation.


Implemented plans should be evaluated again and again to measure its performance and effectiveness. So if there any mistakes, the management will able to do adjustments on that.


The planning process is the primary function in management. It determines organizational goals & objectives and defining suitable procedures to accomplish those goals and objectives.

This process plays a vital role for the rest of the management function as well as the organization. Therefore it is an important managerial function.

It should be simple, time-bound, well-balanced, comprehensive and practicability.

Strategic, intermediate, and operational planning are the 3 levels of planning.

An organization will able to identify its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats by doing an environmental analysis.

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