Planning is the process of thinking before doing and it involves the determination of goals as well as the activities required to be undertaken to achieve the goals. In simple words, planning is deciding in advance what is to be done in future. In management, planning is the process where managers anticipate the future and accordingly decide what activities must be undertaken. Planning consists of deciding in advance what to do, when to do and by whom.
Planning is the primary function of management and is goal oriented, pervasive, flexible, continuous, and futuristic, involves choice and is a mental exercise. Planning is required at all levels of management as well as in all departments of the organization. Planning in the organization is done through a process, or in certain steps which are taken in series.
The process of planning involves setting objectives, establishing the planning premises, Choice of alternatives, Formulation of derivative plans, Securing Cooperation and Follow-up.
Planning makes objective clear and specific with making activities meaningful and most importantly it reduces the risk of uncertainty and it identifies potential dangers and overcomes the adverse effects to a large extent. It facilitates decision making by managers and helps coordination and promotes creativity.
Planning provides the basis of control as it provides standard target against which actual performance can be measured or compared and also it leads to economy and efficiency of operation. Thus, planning is looking ahead and preparing for future in advance.