Planning Process in Business Management
The process of planning includes the determination of objectives and outlining the future actions that are needed to achieve these objectives. Planning, as we all know is deciding in advance what to do and how to do. It is a process of decision making. Since planning is an activity there are certain logical steps for every manager to follow.
Setting Objectives: The first and foremost step is setting objectives. Every organization must have certain objectives. Objectives may be set for the entire organization and each department or unit within the organization. Objectives or goals specify what the organization wants to achieve. It could mean an increase in sales by 20% which could be objective of the entire organization.
Developing Premises: Planning is concerned with the future which is uncertain and every planner is using conjucture about what might happen in future. Therefore, the manager is required to make certain assumptions about the future. These assumptions are called premises.
Identifying alternative courses of action: Once objectives are set, assumptions are made. Then the next step would be to act upon them. There may be many ways to act and achieve objectives. All the alternative courses of action should be identified.
Evaluating alternative courses: The next step is to weigh the pros and cons of each alternative. Each course will have many variables which have to be weighed against each other. The positive and negative aspects of each proposal need to be evaluated in the light of the objective to be achieved.
Selecting an alternative: This is the real point of decision making. The best plan has to be adopted and implemented. The ideal plan, of course, would be the most feasible, profitable and with least negative consequences. Most plans may not always be subjected to a mathematical analysis.
Implement the plan: This is the step where other managerial functions also come into the picture. The step is concerned with putting the plan into action i.e., doing what is required.
Follow-up action: To see whether plans are being implemented and activities are performed according to schedule is also part of the planning process. Monitoring the plans is equally important to ensure that objectives are achieved.