Planning helps an organization chart a course for the achievement of its goals. The process begins with reviewing the current operations of the organization and identifying what needs to be improved operationally in the upcoming year. From there, planning involves envisioning the results the organization wants to achieve, and determining the steps necessary to arrive at the intended destination–success, whether that is measured in financial terms, or goals that include being the highest-rated organization in customer satisfaction.

Planning promotes team building and a spirit of cooperation. When the plan is completed and communicated to members of the organization, everyone knows what their responsibilities are, and how other areas of the organization need their assistance and expertise in order to complete assigned tasks. They see how their work contributes to the success of the organization as a whole and can take pride in their contributions. Potential conflict can be reduced when top management solicits department or division managers’ input during the goal setting process. Individuals are less likely to resent budgetary targets when they had a say in their creation.

In a project environment, planning is driven by the products and services being produced or delivered by the project.

In a project environment, planning is driven by the products and services being produced or delivered by the project. Programme plans are partly an aggregate of the associated project level plans and partly a reflection of the strategic context for the programme.

At project level, typical steps woul be to:

  • define and describe the major products or services
  • identify activities to develop the products or services
  • define the sequence of identified activities
  • visualise the order (in a network diagram) including inter-dependencies
  • estimate the duration and effort required for each activity
  • identify the critical path (by taking a second pass through the network diagram)
  • analyse and minimise resources required, resolving any resourcing conflicts
  • identify major and minor decision points
  • decide on milestone and review points

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