What is Planning? Definition, Characteristics, Process, Importance, and Limitations


All companies want to succeed in their sector and increase their sales and profits as well.

The dream of all managers is not different from these and but to turn these dreams into real life, they will work hard to accomplish all goals or objectives incorrect business decisions, and completing short-term goals in near future.

If managers think in advance what to do and how to do it, then the dream is not far for them.

These two questions what to do and how to do is the beginning point of every planning. So I don’t hesitate to tell these are the abstract of planning.

So, Today we will briefly discuss about the primary function of management, planning.

So let’s drive in.

What is Planning:

In simple language, planning is the weapon to fix in advance what to do and how to do it.

But many management geniuses give many different definition of planning in their time.

Peter Drucker has given a definition of planning which as:

“Planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial decisions systematically and with best possible knowledge of their futurity, organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized and systematic feedback”.

It is one of the main managerial function which helps in connecting with imagination and innovation. The foremost work of a manager is to set objectives. After setting objectives he knows where to go.

Then planning comes into the picture, and it helps to build a pool between where he is and where he wants to go. It is all about what managers do at every level in near future. It involves a lot of many choices for alternative courses of action.

Characteristics or Features of Planning

In any telecommunicate company, want to expand their area of the network to provide their network to more ones. If they set a goal to increase in the number of customers up to 20% within 6 months. And the objectives of this year is to increase customers up to 50 %.

Because, planning is the foremost managerial function, so they fix their goals first and then work on it.

When you study the characteristics of planning, then you will be able to discover the harmony in the characteristics of planning and what you see in every organization. Because they pursue set a planning process.

If you find so similarities then comment in the comment box.

There are some features of planning which helps to understand the whole concept of nature or breadth.

Characteristics of Planning
Characteristics of Planning

(1) Focuses on Achieving Goals:

Organizations are founded to empower peoples in different ways. They have some specific purpose or vision along with activities that help to accomplish organizations timely and smoothly.

Without help in achieving organizational objectives, planning is useful element.

(2) Primary Function of Management:

Planning is base on all other managerial functions of an organization. It provides the playing ground for other functions of management.

Thus, the other functions of management play a vital role in achieving the dreams of an organization but planning is the heart of everyone.

(3) Pervasive:

Planning is required for all levels of management as well as departments in an organization. It differs at the top, middle, low levels of management along with various departments.

(4) Continuous:

Plans are required for a particular season of time such as a month, a quarter, and also for a year. When the time period is over then other plans are set to achieve some departmental or even organizational goals.

(5) Futuristic:

Every time we are planned for the future, not for the past or present. Because the future is full of uncertainty, so we have to plan effectively for the best return from the future. Business organizations are not far from it.

(6) Decision-Making:

Choices are very important for everyone or even enterprises as well. It decides that what the probability of success or failure is.

Planning deliberately employs choices from among various alternative courses of action. If there is only one way to get out of this situation, then planning is useless because there is no use for choices.

(7) Mental Exercise:

Planning is a knowledge and facts consuming process. It is all about the assumption of the future that involves mental intelligence.

Basically, it is the activity of more thinking and less doing. Because it involves two major questions about what to do and how to do it.

Planning Process

Earlier we all know that planning decides activities in the future in an organization. It is an approach to deciding the correct choices.

How do we go for making a well-definite plan?

There are some steps in the planning process that are given below. These certain steps followed by some successful managers.

Planning Process
Planning Process

(1) Setting Objectives:

The primary and foremost step of the planning process is setting objectives. Every managers or organization have some goals or objectives which give acceleration and motivation to the whole organization to do day-by-day activities.

For planning, goals or objectives are like a compass because it never deviated from your track.

(2) Developing Premises:

Always we all do plan for the future which is full of uncertainty and every good planner predicts everything which might happen in near future. Managers should have a quality of future predictions. These predictions are called premises.

The bases of these predictions are the existing plans and past facts or information.

(3) Identifying Alternative Courses of Action:

After the goals are fixed and premises are made, the next question comes to our mind what action to accomplish these fixed objectives. There are many ways to act upon the organizational goals. All the alternative courses of action are identified.

After that these alternatives courses of action may be taken in regular thinking and creative thinking.

(4) Evaluating Alternative Courses:

After identifying the alternative courses, you have to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative course’s action. There are many variables in any alternatives which outraged against each other.

Alternatives courses of action are assessed the light of probability and influence.

(5) Choosing the Right Alternatives:

Planning is an approach to decision-making. Choosing the right alternations at the right time is beneficial otherwise it is a wastage of time and effort. Basically, the ideal plan might be the most practical, economical with negligible consensus.

Generally, the managers will use permutations and combinations (P&C) to choose the best alternatives.

(6) Accomplishing the Plan:

This is the step where other functions of management come into the picture of the action. Because the mind game over, it is the time installation of the plan into action.

It involves all the departments and communicates with each other in an organization to achieve pre-determined plans.

(7) Follow-up Actions:

Implementing the plan is not the ending of planning. Managers will be following or monitoring the action of whether the plan is really implemented in the real world or not.

Following and monitoring the plans are similarly very important to confirm that the planned goals or objectives are accomplished.

Importance of Planning

You might see on TV and ads that how managers and executives convey their plans and presentations in board meetings. These plans or presentations are really worked to accomplish organizational goals.

Sometimes a question strikes in our mind that is why we should plan. Because planning is a time and sometimes money consuming process. So why do we wait for our time and money?

These are some major importance of planning which helps to understand this wastage of time or money is worthless or not.

Importance of Planning
Importance of Planning

(1) Provides Directions:

Planning helps to provide a direction of action. It provides guidance for deciding what activities to be taken and in which way. When every indivisible know the purpose or goals of an organization, every indivisible and department is doing work in coordination.

Without planning, every employee is directionless and the enterprise can’t able to fulfill their desired goals.

(2) Reduces the Risks of Future Uncertainty:

Planning gives a tool to managers which helps to look forward and predict future changes. It ensures that what duty to be executed. It deals with changes and future uncertainty.

Planning is the only function that helps to reduce the risks of future uncertainty.

(3) Reduces Overlapping and Wasteful Activities:

Planning provides the basis of coordination and communication among indivisible, various groups, and departments.

In organizations, coordination or communication reduces overlapping and wasteful activities because they help to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.

(4) Promotes Creative Ideas:

Planning is the process where you can add or subtract anything. It is the foremost managerial function so it is best to add many creative or innovative ideas.

An idea is creative when it is new, unique, and future-oriented. Therefore it helps to guide future uncertainty.

(5) Create a Setup for Controlling:

Planning helps to set goals or objectives and focus on the accomplishment of these goals through other managerial functions (Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Controlling).

Controlling is calculating and correcting of activities of subordinates to make sure that the work is going according to the plan.

In other languages, planning creates a setup for controlling.

Limitations of Planning

In this world, every beautiful thing has negative points, such as the moon has a lot of dark spots. So planning is not different from them, it also has some limitations or dis-advantages.

Previously, we all have seen, planning manages the organization and helps to achieve pre-determined organizational goals. It reduces the risk of future events and changes (unfortunate events, rise profit and loss, and government monetary policies, etc) for an organization.

Planning is important for our daily life activities. So we all surround with planning, therefore you have to know about the pros and cons.

The importance of planning is known in the previous section. This is the time to know the limitations or cons of planning.

Limitations of Planning
Limitations of Planning

These are –

(1) Leads to Inflexibility:

Plans help to achieve goals or objectives in a timely in an organization. These plans decide that organization is successful or not. Managers are not in a position to alter anything. This is the inflexibility of planning.

Managers should have some flexibility to change or alter the environment.

(2) Can’t able to Work in a Dynamic Environment:

Many people don’t want to go for business, because it is a dynamic environment. In this world, nothing is constant. It is difficult to predict future evaluations (like – economical, political, and formal or social aspects, etc).

Planning can’t able to assume everything in a dynamic environment.

(3) Reduces Creativity:

Planning is the work of top-level managers. The other levels (Middle or Low-level managers) follow their plans or incrustations. Generally, the rest of the other members have not any kind of capability to plan anything toward the organization. They are only able to obey the orders which are given by top-level managers.

So, planning suppresses the creativity of indivisible.

(4) Involves a Huge Costs:

When plans are given by top managers, it involves a huge cost in its implementation. The cost is not only in the form of money but also the time as well. Such as – Expensive board member meetings, discussions, and many more to discover the durability of the pre-determined plan.

(5) Time-consuming Approach:

Generally, well-determine planning is a time-consuming approach, because you have to analyze all the past and present facts or information to plan for an uncertain future.

(6) Can’t Guarantee Success:

Planning is half done the work. Rest 50% is enough to make an organization unsuccessful. Planning is the primary function for any organization, it helps to make a successful organization but it can’t guarantee success.

To be a successful organization, it should be doing many things (Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Marketing, and so on) along with planning.


Planning is one of the most important functions in managerial function to accomplish objectives effectively and efficiently.

What did you think of this? Do I miss something? Come on! Let us know if you want to add something to the list.

Planning FAQ:

What is the definition of planning?

Planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial decisions systematically and with the best possible knowledge of their futurity.

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