Planning

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Computer consultants give up on automated scheduling and resort to an old-fashioned plan-board to agree on who does what when.

Planning (also called forethought) is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal.

Planning involves the creation and maintenance of a plan. As such, planning is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior. This thought process is essential to the creation and refinement of a plan, or integration of it with other plans; that is, it combines forecasting of developments with the preparation of scenarios of how to react to them.

An important, albeit often ignored aspect of planning, is the relationship it holds with forecasting. Forecasting can be described as predicting what the future will look like, whereas planning predicts what the future should look like.[1] The counterpart to planning is spontaneous order.

Planning topics[edit]

Psychological aspects[edit]

The Striatum; part of the basal ganglia; neural pathways between the striatum and the frontal lobe have been implicated in planning function.

Planning is one of the executive functions of the brain, encompassing the neurological processes involved in the formulation, evaluation and selection of a sequence of thoughts and actions to achieve a desired goal. Various studies utilizing a combination of neuropsychological, neuropharmacological and functional neuroimaging approaches have suggested there is a positive relationship between impaired planning ability and damage to the frontal lobe.

A specific area within the mid-dorsolateral frontal cortex located in the frontal lobe has been implicated as playing an intrinsic role in both cognitive planning and associated executive traits such as working memory.

Disruption of the neural pathways, via various mechanisms such as traumatic brain injury, or the effects of neurodegenerative diseases between this area of the frontal cortex and the basal ganglia specifically the striatum (cortico-striatal pathway), may disrupt the processes required for normal planning function.[2]

Individuals who were born Very Low Birth Weight (<1500 grams) and Extremely Low BirthWeight (ELBW) are at greater risk for various cognitive deficits including planning ability.[3][4]

Neuropsychological tests[edit]

A version of the Tower of Hanoi utilizing four discs.
Animation of a four disc version of the Tower of Hanoi.

There are a variety of neuropsychological tests which can be used to measure variance of planning ability between the subject and controls.

Screenshot of the PEBL psychology software running the Tower of London test

In test participants with damage to the right anterior, and left or right posterior areas of the frontal lobes showed no impairment. The results implicating the left anterior frontal lobes involvement in solving the TOL were supported in concomitant neuroimaging studies which also showed a reduction in regional cerebral blood flow to the left pre-frontal lobe. For the number of moves, a significant negative correlation was observed for the left prefrontal area: i.e. subjects that took more time planning their moves showed greater activation in the left prefrontal area.[7]

Planning in public policy[edit]

Public policy planning includes environmental, land use, regional, urban and spatial planning. In many countries, the operation of a town and country planning system is often referred to as "planning" and the professionals which operate the system are known as "planners".

It is a conscious as well as sub-conscious activity. It is "an anticipatory decision making process" that helps in coping with complexities. It is deciding future course of action from amongst alternatives. It is a process that involves making and evaluating each set of interrelated decisions. It is selection of missions, objectives and "translation of knowledge into action." A planned performance brings better results compared to an unplanned one. A manager's job is planning, monitoring and controlling. Planning and goal setting are important traits of an organization. It is done at all levels of the organization. Planning includes the plan, the thought process, action, and implementation.Planning gives more power over the future. Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and who should do it. This bridges the gap from where the organization is to where it wants to be. The planning function involves establishing goals and arranging them in logical order.

Planning process[edit]

Example of planning process framework.

Patrick Montana and Bruce Charnov outline a three-step result-oriented process for planning:[8]

  1. Choosing a destination
  2. Evaluating alternative routes, and
  3. Deciding the specific course of your plan.

In organizations, planning is a management process, concerned with defining goals for company's future direction and determining on the missions and resources to achieve those targets. To meet the goals, managers may develop plans such as a business plan or a marketing plan. Planning always has a purpose. The purpose may be achievement of certain goals or targets.

Main characteristics of planning in organizations are:

Planning increases the efficiency of an organization. It reduces the risks involved in modern business activities. It facilitates pring the available time and resources. The concept of planning is to identify what the organization wants to do by using the four questions which are "where are we today in terms of our business or strategy planning? Where are we going? Where do we want to go? How are we going to get there?..."

Types of planning[edit]

There are many types of planning.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ How does forecasting relate to planning? ForecastingPrinciples.com
  2. ^ Owen AM.Cognitive planning in humans: neuropsychological, neuroanatomical and neuropharmacological perspectives. Prog Neurobiol. 1997 Nov;53(4):431-50.PMID 9421831
  3. ^ Harvey JM, O'Callaghan MJ, Mohay H. Executive function of children with extremely low birthweight: a case control study. Dev Med Child Neurol. 1999 May;41(5):292-7.PMID 10378753
  4. ^ Aarnoudse-Moens CS, Weisglas-Kuperus N, van Goudoever JB, Oosterlaan J.Meta-analysis of neurobehavioral outcomes in very preterm and/or very low birth weight children. Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):717-28. Epub 27 July 2009. PMID 19651588
  5. ^ Welsh MC, Huizinga M. The development and preliminary validation of the Tower of Hanoi-revised. Assessment. 2001 Jun;8(2):167-76.PMID 11428696
  6. ^ Anderson JR, Albert MV, Fincham JM.Tracing problem solving in real time: fMRI analysis of the subject-paced Tower of Hanoi. J Cogn Neurosci. 2005 Aug;17(8):1261-74.PMID 16197682
  7. ^ Shallice, T. (1982). "Specific impairments of planning". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 298 (1089): 199–209. doi:10.1098/rstb.1982.0082. PMID 6125971. 
  8. ^ Barron's Management book fourth edition, Authors: Patrick J. Montana and Bruce H. Charnov

Further reading[edit]