Planning is the first step in the administrative process. Planning consists of defining the strategies that help to achieve the previously established objectives.
Fundamentally, planning is a tool used in management to set goals and choose the means to achieve them. This allows a concrete and defined course of action to be followed. With planning you can determine what will be done, how it will be done, where and when it will be done and how much it will cost us.
Similarly, this planning tool allows us to decide in the present moment what we will do in the future. First the problem is defined, then the past is analyzed and the plan that we have to follow is drawn up.
Indeed, every company or organization exists to achieve a specific goal. For this reason, the mission must justify the reason for being of the company at the present time. While the vision indicates what the company hopes to be in the future.
Therefore, a clear definition of the mission, vision and values of a company determines the type of clients it serves, the products it offers and the needs it satisfies. Planning must be in accordance with these fundamental aspects of the organization.
The main steps to follow in the planning process are:
1. Assess the current situation
First, the situation assessment should include an analysis of the factors most important to the company. These factors can be economic indicators, market trends, competition and the resources that the company has.
That is, planning starts from the environment of the organization. With this, the purpose of the company is determined and the short, medium and long-term objectives that are expected to be achieved are defined. Seeking to take advantage of opportunities and avoiding threats from the environment.
2. Definition of goals and objectives
Second, goals and objectives define the most important things an organization hopes to achieve in the short, medium, and long term. The objectives must be clearly defined, therefore they must be realistic, measurable and relevant to the organization.
Of course, the objectives are the common points for which all employees of a company must work. Becoming key points that guide people's actions and activities.
3. Prepare the action plan
Third, if the objectives are to be achieved, it is necessary to define an action plan. The action plan indicates the specific activities that have to be carried out to meet the objectives. Also, these concrete actions can be strategies or tactics that have to be carried out to fulfill the purposes of the plan.
4. Resource allocation
Fourth, the resources needed to carry out the plan can be human, financial, physical, and material. These resources must be assigned in accordance with the actions or activities embodied in the planning.
These resources will certainly need to be efficiently organized in the planning process. Likewise, a control process must be maintained throughout the execution of the plan.
5. Execute the plan
Fifth, execution involves putting the action plan into action. For this, it is necessary to delegate authority, in the same way assign tasks and responsibilities to achieve the goals of the plan. Throughout the execution of the plan, feedback can be given as needed.
Finally, control is necessary in the planning process so that the objectives can be achieved. For this reason, a follow-up must be given to how the activities are being carried out and how the objectives are being achieved.Planning process
The most important principles of planning are:
Above all, when carrying out the planning process, it should be made as clear and precise as possible. Because the plan has to guide the concrete actions to be carried out. That is why it must be as specific as possible so that it is not diffuse or too general. In this way it will be possible to achieve that the objectives are met with efficiency and effectiveness.
Likewise, precision avoids improvisation or vagueness in execution. For the plan to work, it must be based on real data and precise and accurate reasoning.
Organizations are, of course, always changing, so planning needs to be flexible to easily adapt to changes. Therefore, it must be able to adapt to changes that may occur after the plan has been drawn up.
Indeed, every plan must have a margin of slack in unforeseen situations. Finding new action guidelines that allow adjusting to new situations.
It is important to note that, although each department of the organization is assigned a specific goal or objective, the entire plan is oriented towards the achievement of a common objective. In other words, although there are specific plans for each unit, they must all be coordinated to a general plan.
Certainly, all must be perfectly integrated to achieve adequate coordination of functions, resources and activities.Only in this way is it possible to achieve the objectives.
On the other hand, the plan should not be so ambitious that it is impossible to achieve. But not so optimistic that it seems that it is very easy to achieve. It is recommended that the plan can be carried out, adapting to the conditions and needs of the organization.
Of course the planning must be realistic, therefore it must be prepared in accordance with reality, with the experience and with the resources that the company has.Planning process
The main characteristics of planning are:
- It is a tool used to make important decisions in an organization.
- The planning process seeks to optimize the achievement of objectives.
- It seeks to adapt the objectives according to the needs of the company and the resources it has available.
- It defines concrete actions that are implemented in the present moment to achieve future goals.
- Planning is a rational and deliberate process.
Among the types of planning processes we find:
In any case, strategic planning is what defines the action guidelines of the organization's general plan. It is carried out by the senior managers of a company. It involves the entire company, generally medium and long-term objectives are established and defined.
On the other hand, tactical planning includes specific plans for each unit or department and they are subordinate to the strategic plan. They are very detailed plans since they guide the course of action of each department. This is why it is also called functional planning.
Usually, it includes the detailed plan for each management area of the company and is always subordinate to the general plan of the company. They are also linked to short-term decisions.
They are generally short-term plans, closely related to tactical planning. They are actions and activities that must be carried out at the lowest levels of the business organization.
In this way, operational planning determines how resources are allocated to implement the plan. It is a short-term planning for each operational area. It establishes the steps that must be followed and the times in which they must be met.
In conclusion, it can be said that the planning process is essential for a company to achieve a high level of performance. Well, through planning, the goals and objectives that are expected to be achieved are defined. In addition, the most suitable means can be chosen to achieve this. Without a plan, the human, financial and material resources that a company owns cannot be adequately managed.