‘Planning’ means looking ahead and chalking out future courses of action to be followed. It is a preparatory step. It is a systematic activity which determines when, how and who is going to perform a specific job. Planning is a detailed program regarding future courses of action. It is rightly said “Good planning means half the job is done”. Therefore, planning takes into consideration available and prospective human and physical resources of the organization so as to get effective co-ordination, contribution and perfect adjustment. It is the basic management function which includes formulation of one or more detailed plans to achieve optimum balance of needs or demands with the available resources. According to Urwick, “Planning is a mental predisposition to do things in orderly way, to think before acting and to act in the light of facts rather than guesses”.
Planning is deciding the best alternative among others to perform different managerial functions in order to achieve predetermined goals. According to Koontz & O’Donell, “Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do and who is to do it. Planning bridges the gap between where we are to where we want to go. It makes possible things to occur which would not otherwise occur”.
Therefore, objectives should be stated in a clear, precise and unambiguous language. Otherwise the activities undertaken are bound to be ineffective. As far as possible, objectives should be stated in quantitative terms. For example, Number of men working, wages given, units produced, etc. Some objectives cannot be stated in quantitative terms like performance of quality control manager, effectiveness of personnel manager etc. Such goals should be specified in qualitative terms. Hence, objectives should be practical, acceptable, workable and achievable.
Establishment of planning premises is concerned with taking such steps that avoid these obstacles to a great extent. Internal includes capital investment policy, management labour relations, philosophy of management, etc. Whereas external includes socio- economic, political and economic changes. Internal premises are controllable whereas external are non- controllable.