The Ministry of Planning and the implementation of the
to planning and the planning process
Planning can be regarded as
one of the most important tasks of a leader, and it forms the basis
of all other management tasks. How well these other management
tasks are carried out, will depend on the quality of the planning
process. the planning process also involves investigations to
obtain information for this purpose. It includes setting out this
information in an orderly fashion and using the decision-making
process for selecting the best methods to achieve the
Planning bridges the gap
between where we are and where we want to be. It enables us to
avoid the pitfalls of hasty judgment and haphazard action. Planning
is vital to effective teamwork, for the only way that we can
integrate the efforts of innovative, productive people is to
encourage them to think thoroughly.
of the planning process
The planning process involves
the work a manager does to predetermine a course of action. It
involves setting objectives and establishing policies and
procedures to attain them. Plans are what you intend to do in the
future and are the result of the planning process. The
planning process involves a reflection of a basic or theoretical
manner of policy, rules, procedures, strategies, methods, skills
and expertise by the leader to achieve and realize aims and
objectives through people and resources.
of the planning process
The importance of the
planning process is as follows:
the planning process
predetermines future purposes;
the planning process is the
starting point of the management action and gives direction to the
the planning process provides
time for reflection;
the planning process causes
the leader to think continually about set objectives;
the planning process can lead
to the better utilization of people and resources; it facilitates
the planning process reduces
the chances of overlapping; it saves time, money and
the planning process ensures
better control because of set criteria.
for effective application of the planning process
There are various principles
which are applicable to planning. If we use and apply these
principles correctly, it assists us in planning more
Process. Principle Nr 1 - The influence of present
This means that planning
decisions already made, or that are now being made during the
planning process, can influence future action. If wrong decisions
are made, it can lead to serious problems for the organisation in
Process. Principle Nr 2 - Positive action
The planning process, however
good it may be, must be followed up by active steps, otherwise it
is totally useless because nothing will come of it without
Process. Principle Nr 3 - Concurrent action
The amount of attention
(planning and achievement time) that is devoted to a specific task
must correspond with the size and complexity of a specific task or
objective to be attained thereby.
Process. Principle Nr 4 - Planning stability
The further planning is done
in advance, the greater the chances are that the planning can
change. Planning over a shorter period of time should be more
accurate. We can therefore say that planning which extends over a
period of five days, is subject to fewer changes, than planning
which extends over a period of five years.
Planning Process. Principle Nr 5 - Coordinated
The activities of the
different sections within a department influence one another
mutually, with reference to the interaction between the persons.
Effective communication and good timing should exist amongst
everyone involved in the planning process.
The planning process must be
coordinated with respect to the following.
External inputs (people,
Priorities linked to
Appropriate policy and
Principle of integrated
in the planning process, the
planning at all levels must be integrated with one another.
Planners must have insight about all activities related to the
planning. This principle is closely connected with the previous
one. In order to reach objectives, planning must fit into each
other for all levels within the same department, so that mutual
objectives can be attained.
Process. Principle Nr 6 - Continuous planning
Planning is not something
which is done only sometimes. Because of potentially changeable
environmental factors, planning might often need to be adapted.
Planning will therefore constantly and continuously be updated,
expanded and adjusted. For this very reason computers are becoming
all the more popular during the planning process.
Process. Principle Nr 7 - Resistance to change
The further planning deviates
from existing accepted ways, the greater the potential resistance
by the persons who must carry out the plans. People tend to oppose
change, if, however, the change is gradual, the resistance will be
Process. Principle Nr 8 - Critical minority
In any given group of events
it happens that a small number of causes gives rise to the largest
number of results. Within any enterprise a small number of
departments is often responsible for the largest number of
accidents which take place within the enterprise.
Process. Principle Nr 9 - Competitiveness
circumstances, planning must always be made with consideration of
the activities of the competitors.
of the planning process
Process. Step nr 1: Forecasting
Forecasting is the starting
point of any planning process and is done by taking a look into the
future. Managers perform forecasting in order to to predict and
estimate future conditions and events and the needs and
opportunities associated with them. Forecasting is an art, not a
science, and no-one can predict the state of the economy, or an
organization's probable situation in ten years� time with a great
degree of accuracy, but the better the forecasting, the better the
plans can be.
There are two principles to
keep in mind when doing forecasting as part of the planning
Principle of cause and
effect. That future events are usually the outcome of the
current and past occurrences.
Principle of gradual
economic change. Economic factors, as well as political, social
and technological influences at work, tend to take place gradually
over the long term.
Steps to take in
Identifying the critical
factors (money, customer demands, old or new product, etc.) that
will influence the end result.
Gather enough information to
know what in the past and why it happened.
Brainstorming : List all
possible future events, however unlikely.
Arrange your forecasts from
the �worst case�, �best case� and �most likely� options.
Communicate the progress at
regular planning meetings - people will want to know what became of
the ideas they contributed.
Prepare for adaptation in
case your forecasting diverges from the reality.
Process. Step nr 2: Formulating purpose, policy and
Purpose. The aim or purpose of a company is the one
overriding goal against which all other goals are measured. The
purpose statement defines the master plan of the company. Without
this master plan there would be no sense or purpose for the company
to exist. The purpose dictates the whole strategy of the planning
Policy. Policies are broad guidelines, philosophies,
general statements, or commands which management establishes in
support of its organizational goals. These are to be used by
managers in setting goals and making their decisions. Policies must
be formulated before decisions can be made or plans laid down. Both
planners and workers need a well-defined policy that is applied
consistently. The planning process must always be completed within
the framework provided by the policy. Formulating policy and
setting goals are interdependent. Just as a certain policy could
dictate the setting of certain goals, in the same way existing
goals can lead to the formulating of a specific policy.
Strategy. Strategies is the determination of courses of
action and the allocation of resources necessary to carry out the
basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise. Strategies
and policies are closely related.
Process. Step nr 3: Setting goals, objectives and
Defining of goals and
objectives is the starting point of the planning process. A leader
wanting to manage effectively must have clearly defined goals and
objectives. Before you can develop plans, you must first set goals
generalized and broad and are usually formulated over the long
term. They are fairly permanent. Goals say something about what
should be achieved after the activity is over and not how things
will be during the course of the activity. Note the
Goals should be generally
Goals should be concrete and
Goals should be acceptable to
Goals should be balanced
Goals should be
Goals come before plans. You
must first decide what it is that you want your department to
accomplish. You should goals carefully and systematically using the
Consider the goals of the
whole organization, not just those of your department.
Estimate the strengths and
weaknesses of your department.
Do not jump to conclusions at
this early stage and be alert to new opportunities.
Consult with those who will
have to help you carry out your plans and with those who can offer
you their support along the way .
Pick a reasonable set of
goals. They should be attainable and contribute to the
Arrange your department�s
goals in a hierarchy of objectives to be used in the most effective
and best way. Watch out for limitations (think about restrictions
that may be imposed on you by your company).
Objectives are intermediate targets towards which an organization
strives. A goal is usually sub-divided into objectives. An
objective operates in the short term and in a sense quantifies the
goals as it can be measured and evaluated.
Objectives in turn, can be
sub-divided into tasks, and tasks into
Before goals and objectives can be established, they must comply
with set standards. A standard is a specific performance goal that
a product, a service, a machine, an individual, or an organization
is expected to meet. In other words, the criteria by which work and
results are evaluated.
Process. Step nr 4: Programming
Reaching the main objectives
requires many activities or tasks that relate to one another. These
actions cannot take place all at the same time but rather in a set
order. Programming has to do with the identification of the
different activities and where it should fit into the process.
Programming is laying down the most effective order of the actions
needed to reach specific objectives. Details are also giving
regarding the resources needed for each step.
The following steps of the
programming process are laid down during the planning
Ensure that all the necessary
steps needed to reach the objective is included in the
Order these steps
Identify all equipment and
materials required for each step.
Identify all the people who
are going to execute the activities.
Process. Step nr 5: Scheduling
Plans work best when
employees know exactly what is required of them. Scheduling is the
systematic lay-out of the times when each different activity should
take place. This ensures that work is completed on time, and also
that resources are used according to the plans laid down during the
A time-limit must be laid
down for each step within which the concerned step must be
completed. In order to determine realistic times for the execution
of each step.
End point scheduling.
This method is used during the planning process when the final date
for a project is known beforehand. In this case the final date is
entered opposite the last step in your framework and from there a
date is allocated to each preceding step until the starting step is
scheduling. This method is used during the planning process
when the final date for a project is unknown, but a time schedule
must nevertheless be submitted for approval. One would start by
setting a completion date for the first step and then progressively
add completion dates for each successive step until the last step
Process. Step nr 6: Setting up regulations and
Work of the same nature
should always be completed in the same manner and should be
specified during the planning process.
Regulations are special rules, limits or controls within which
employees are free to do the job their own way.
are standardized methods prescribed by management, for proper and
consistent forms, sequence, and channels to be followed in
completing standard activities. These methods are calculated to
save time, to effectively use manpower, equipment and materials, to
standardise the training of workers and to simplify
As part of the planning
process, clear and concise instructions for the step by step
completion of the task should be written down for easy reference,
detailing the exact manner in which each activity must be
Process. Step nr 7: Budgeting
Budgeting has to do with
costs and is an integral part of the planning process. Management
must plan ahead what it would cost to execute their plans to reach
their goals. Budgeting is the work that must be done in order to
assign the available resources for the attainment of goals. Budgets
are set up from experiences in the past and from forecasts. It is
only guidelines, but must be as accurate as possible as all the
activities of the organization will be based on it. Budgets
simplifies the planning process because it help in
When budgeting is done
properly, it has the following advantages:
It assists the planning
process in making the best use of resources and thereby controlling
where they go, and how they can be applied effectively.
It gives an indication of the
funds needed in the section to complete the project.
It facilitates control. It
sets a standard by which progress can be measured, and deviations
can easily be detected.
Budgeting is done with regard
to people, material, time and money.
Process. Step nr 8: Setting up a plan of action
The steps of the planning
process, namely goal-setting, programming, scheduling and
budgeting, are usually used as a basis for a plan of action. This
plan of action can differ from department to department, but a
reasonably general format appears as shown. After the plan of
action has been drawn up completely and approval obtained, a copy
must be given to everyone concerned so that effective communication
through understanding and acceptance is effected.
Persons are now bound to
the plan of action and know who all are involved, what their
share in the project is, and when they must carry out the tasks. If
any change should arise, everybody MUST be notified
Example of an action plan used in the planning
(time, cost, quantity, quality etc.)
Such an action plan table should always be used
in the planning process.