We explain what planning is and what its objectives and methodologies are. In addition, its characteristics, stages, classification and processes.
What is Planning?
Planning is understood to be the set of actions and decisions created to meet a specific objective , using the available resources and in a predetermined time frame.
It is the creation of a plan, a work schedule or the determination of the actions to be carried out in a certain order , at a specific time and to achieve a certain goal.
From this definition, there are several characteristics corresponding to the various types and applications of what is known by planning.
Planning is a continuous, permanent process that is unfailingly oriented towards the future . It is directly related to an objective and is projected in a series of actions or milestones to be fulfilled, in chronological order and in advance.
This is a systematic process, that is, from its development it includes the general system in which it operates and the subsystems it reaches, trying to find a resolution or general application to the entity on which it exerts its influence (for example, a company , a community or a family).
Planning interacts with all the elements that intervene in the environment.
Planning is usually a formal process, although depending on the field of action it can also be informal and empirically based (ongoing). It will be developed according to its field, interacting with the environment, the executors, those involved and all the elements involved and at any of its levels.
Planning can be:
- Permanent or temporary, short, medium or long term.
- Strategic, tactical, normative or operational.
- It can pursue a general purpose or mission, sectorized (for each group or sector influenced) or multiple (several purposes, interrelated)
Starting with your type, you will take various techniques:
- Policies: They pursue current and future planning purposes, applicable to all those involved in a sectoral manner.
- Strategies: They are not for instant execution, but for the long term.
- Rules: They are not flexible and apply to all sectors.
- Programs: They include rules and strategies for their constant application.
Stages of planning
After planning, the solutions must be executed in their established order.
Planning must be measurable in its progress. To do this, it is designed in a certain order, defined as a consecutive series of stages:
- Identify the problem, the current or future need, or the goal to be achieved.
- Develop alternatives or proposals to achieve the objective in an allotted time.
- Execute solutions or proposals in a previously established order, meeting partial goals, prioritized according to current needs or possibilities.
Areas of application of planning
Planning is usually associated with a work or business environment , but it is recognized as possible in its application to any field such as political , family, social , economic , governmental , educational or any other.
Each of these areas has its own definitions, especially in terms of financial and material support , execution times and the duration of its application.
Operational planning includes specific short-term goals.
Planning can be formulated in a strategic, tactical, operational, or normative way.
- Strategic planning: The objectives are established in the long term, adding partial goals or specific objectives and integrating internal and external circumstances alike. It is usually carried out in hierarchical areas and not in operational areas.
- Tactical planning: It is carried out continuously, determining actions in a systematic way and adjusting itself in relation to the impacts achieved or changes in circumstances.
- Operational planning: It includes minor planning, specific short-term goals and is normally executed in the operational sectors.
- Normative planning: Its objective is to establish rules and regulations for long-term application and defines, for example, the way to act in the company or general goals, sustainable over time.
Planning, of any type, can take various styles:
- Inactive: Applied in stable and prosperous situations, it is a planning oriented towards prevention, of immediate or circumstantial application.
- Reactive: It is applied in situations in which, from an inconvenient change or negative situation, immediate action is required. It usually applies to the short and medium term.
- Proactive: It seeks to provoke stable changes and towards the future, with long-term objectives.
- Interactive: It seeks to promote changes based on changes in the environment, simultaneously with them, or in the short or medium term from their appearance.
Planning is a purely intellectual process in which action steps are defined (but not executed). For this reason, the evaluation , rationality, contrast and decision-making processes are one of the most important elements.
The comprehensive technique allocates human resources based on the objectives.
In a specific analysis, planning is a cyclical, coordinated, and comprehensive technique.
- Cyclical technique: Since it becomes a reality when it is executed and, when it exists, it is evaluated, adapted and becomes a new planning.
- Coordinated technique: That puts various machinery, resources and tools into action simultaneously, both for their creation and for their execution.
- Comprehensive technique: Allocation of human and non-human resources based on the objective sought.