According to F.W Taylor (1856-1915), management is an art of knowing what to do, when to do, and see that it’s done in the best and the cheapest way. It focuses on achieving organizational goals. The overall purpose of management is to set goals for the company/organization and to help meet those goals as efficiently and effectively as possible. There are five functions of management: planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling .
The question is discussed in reference to CARANA CORPORATIONs;an international organization implementing a USAID Project of ALUR HIGHLANDS COFFEE ALLIANCE (AHCA) PROJECT, the project Goal is to improve the income and Livelihoods of the coffee farmers in West Nile. The project ultimate goal is to reach 16,000 coffee farmers in the West Nile region .
According to Koontz, H and Weihrich, H (1988), planning is foreseeing future circumstances and requirements, then, setting objectives, making long and short term plans and determining the policies to be followed with standards to be set. It involves making a systematic process for achieving the organization’s goals. In planning, managers receive and store information, monitor and disseminate the information. A manager makes decisions on strategy and allocation of resources and initiate planned changes. The AHCA Project has a 3 years Performance Management Plan( PMP) to monitor, and track its goals and objectives .
According to United Nations Development Program (2009 ), Planning can be defined as the process of setting goals, developing strategies, outlining the implementation arrangements and allocating resources to achieve those goals. It is important to note that planning involves looking at a number of different processes:
• Identifying the vision, goals or objectives to be achieved
• Formulating the strategies needed to achieve the vision and goals
• Determining and allocating the resources (financial and other) required to achievethe vision and goals
• outlining implementation arrangements, which include the arrangements formonitoring and evaluating progress towards achieving the vision and goals
Sherri Hartzell said “Planning is an ongoing step, and can be highly specialized based on organizational goals, division goals, departmental goals, and team goals”
Birnberg H (2013), Stated that there are a variety of planning types and approaches that managers will have to take to effectively perform their work. The planning process entails two wings of either short term or long term.
The four common broad elements of planning in an organization are: Strategic Plans, Implementation plans,Initial Objectives, Tactical Plans,
Koontz et al (1980) introduces an issue known as the nature of planning which can be highlighted by different aspects of planning. These aspects are contributions to purpose and objectives? primacy of planning, pervasiveness of planning and efficiency of plans. These aspects are discussed briefly in turn.
Olusanya, Olumuyiwa S, Awotungase,Adelajas,Ohadebere E and Chukwuemeka clearly discussed the nature of planning well in their book as follows:
Contribution to purpose and objectives- Drawing mainly from work of Goetz (1949), Koontz and his colleagues assert that the purpose of every plan and all derivative plans is to facilitate the accomplishment of enterprise purpose and objectives. For instance at Carana corporation, weplan to train 200 farmers to meet the objective of the improve in the Volume, quality and quantity of coffee production.
Primary of planning- It is argued that since managerial operations is organizing, staffing, treating and controlling are designed to support the accomplishment of enterprise objectives, then planning should logically precede the execution of all other managerial functions. Although all the managerial functions are interlinked in practice as a system of action, planning is unique, in that it establishes the objective necessary for all group effort. Most important, all the other managerial functions must be planned if they are to be effective.
Pervasiveness of planning- This implies that planning is a function of all managers, although the character and breadth of planning will vary with the nature of policies and plans authorized by their superiors. However, one manager because of his authority or position in the organization may do more planning or more important planning or another, or the planning of one may be more basic and applicable to a large portion of enterprises than that of another. an
Efficiency of plans- This concept stresses that a plan is efficient when it contributes to purpose and objectives as offset by the cost and other unsought consequences required to formulate and operate such plans. As such a plan too high attracts unnecessarily high costs. Also, even though the concepts of efficiency
In understanding planning intensively, it’s very important to understand the features that underpin it, and the following are the common features of planning.
Planning is an intellectual process of thinking in advance. It is a process of deciding the future on the series of events to follow. Planning is a process where a number of steps are to be taken to decide the future course of action. Managers or executives have to consider various courses of action, achieve the desired goals, go in details of the pros and cons of every course of action and then finally decide what course of action may suit them best.
Planning contributes positively in attaining the objectives of the business enterprise. Since plans are there from the very first stage of operation, the management is able to handle every problem successfully. A purposeful, sound and effective planning process knows how and when to tackle a problem. This leads to success. Objectives thus are easily achieved.
According to George R. Terry, “Planning is a continuous process and there is no end to it. It involves continuous collection, evaluation and selection of data, and scientific investigation and analysis of the possible alternative courses of action and the selection of the best alternative. Managers will have to revise and adjust plans accordingly.
Planning Pervades Managerial Activities, from primary of planning follows pervasiveness of planning. It is the function of every managerial personnel. The character, nature and scope of planning may change from personnel to personnel but the planning as an action remains intact.
According to Billy E. Goetz, “Plans cannot make an enterprise successful. Action is required, the enterprise must operate managerial planning seeks to achieve a consistent, coordinated structure of operations focused on desired trends. Without plans, action must become merely activity producing nothing but chaos .”
I agree with the statement because a plan is a guide for project implementation and a basis for monitoring,According to Koontz and O’Donnell, “Without planning business becomes random in nature and decisions become meaningless and adhoc choices.”
According to Geroge R. Terry, “Planning is the foundation of most successful actions of any enterprise.”
According to the samkish article Planning is the basic function of every enterprise as in planning we decide what is to be done, how it is to be done, when it is to be done and by whom it must be done.
Planning is indeed a critical function of management because of the underlying reasons as discussed below:
Planning aids in providing directions, when planning the objectives of a project, program or organizations are stated in a simple and clear word. Planning is also important in achieving the objectives of the organization. For example in Alur Highlands Coffee Alliance Project, during the annual work plan the targets are set to achieve the objectives like 1000 coffee farmers to be trained in good agricultural practices in the period of February 2017 thus eventually achieving the project objective of improved coffee quality and quantity among the coffee farmers thus providing a direction of the goal for increased income and livelihoods of coffee farmers. All the project managers/staff will get focused on achieving the project targets when there is a plan.
Planning Reduces Risks of Uncertainty: Planning is always done for the future and the future is uncertain. With the help of planning possible changes in future are anticipated and various activities are planned in the best possible way. In this way, the risk of future uncertainties can be minimized. For example, to meet the objective of average percentage increase in the yields of coffee, the project will undertake a survey to find the results. We can plan by looking into the future and therefore develop organizational policies for maximum utilization of the resources in the future.
Planning Reduces Overlapping and Wasteful Activities: future activities are planned in order to achieve objectives. Consequently, the question of when, where, what and why are almost decided. This puts an end to disorganization and suspicion. With well plans coordination is established among different activities and departments. For example the Monitoring and Evaluation department of AHCA plans to conduct a survey to ascertain the increase in the income of coffee farmers in the month of February and activity requires a certain amount of money (2,000,000 Ug) and after giving the finance manager the forecast, he then arranges for the finance in time, but without prior information, the amount of money can be more or less than the requirement in that particular month. Thus if the money is less, then the activity cannot be completed timely and if the money is more, then the amount will remain redundant and thus causing a loss of interest. Hence forth, it becomes paramount to plan well during implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects because it avoids overlap and wasteful activities.
Planning Promotes Innovative Ideas: It is clear that planning selects the best alternative out of the many available. All these alternatives do not come to the manager on by themselves, but they have to be discovered. While making such an effort of discovery, many new ideas emerge and they are studied intensively in order to determine the best out of them. In this way, planning imparts a real power of thinking in the managers. It leads to the birth of innovative and creative ideas. For example, when the organization plans to introduce a new a product during the annual work plans development
Planning Facilitates Decision Making: Decision making means the process of taking decisions. Planning involves a variety of alternatives which are discovered and the best alternative is chosen. It also lays down the criteria for evaluating courses of action. In this way, planning facilitates decision making. That is to say, in CARANA CORPORATION different stakeholders are involved in planning and this people come with different ideas
Planning Establishes Standards for Controlling:By determining the objectives of the organization through planning all the people working in the organization and all the departments are informed about ‘when’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ to do things.Standards are laid down about their work, time and cost, etc. Under controlling, at the time of completing the work, the actual work done is compared with the standard work and deviations are found out and if the work has not been done as desired the person concerned are held responsible.
In conclusion, great plans with clear results framework result into effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of organizational programs and policies, poor plans results into project failures.
2. “There is a close and mutually reinforcing (supportive) relationship between planning, implementation and monitoring. One of the three cannot be done in isolation from the other two, and when doing one of the three, the planners and implementers have to cater for the others” Said Phil Bartle
UNDP (2009) provides for the definition of monitoring and evaluation as below;
Monitoring is defined as the ongoing process by which stakeholders obtain regular feedback on the progress being made towards achieving their goals and objectives.
Evaluation is a rigorous and independent assessment of either completed or ongoing activities to determine the extent to which they are achieving stated objectives and contributing to decision making. Evaluations, like monitoring, can apply to many things, including an activity, project, programe, strategy, policy, topic, theme, sector or organization.
Planning describes ways which implementation, monitoring and evaluation should be done; thus it is during the planning that management can decide who does the monitoring, evaluation and implementation of the programs and organizational policies, when it will be done and so on. Since there is an interlinking connection between the three, it’s important for management to plan well to effectively implement, monitor and evaluate programs and organizational policies; this is clearly seen in the activity work plans
Implementation, monitoring and evaluation are guided by the project work plan; a good and detailed project work plan will determine the effectiveness of the programs to be implemented and monitored,
Monitoring provides information for project planning and implementation, while doing monitoring an organization can find new information’s /learning’s that can be used, Sometimes during monitoring in the fields, new issues then to come up and hence they are used in plans.
UNDP (2009) report states that, without proper planning and clear articulation of intended results, it is not clear what should be monitored and how; hence monitoring cannot be done well.
Without effective planning for instance the project Logical Frameworks the basis for evaluation is weak; hence evaluation cannot be done well. This there calls for better plans in order to implement, monitor and evaluate.
Monitoring and evaluation of a program will often lead to changes in program plans. This may mean further changing or modifying data collection for monitoring purposes. This will depend on the learning’s and adaptations derived from the field. Well planned programs result into good results during monitoring and evaluations.
Implementation is the stage where all the planned activities are put into action. Thus a good plan is needed in place for an effective implementation of project activities to take place. For example In CaranaCorpration a project staff responsible for training coordination will need to design a good plan that entails the time of the activity, when the activity will take place, location of the activity, how much money is required to implement the activity for the activity to be a success, and identify the training beneficiaries before implementation, with a well plan the activity implementation becomes easier.
Monitoring is also important to ensure that activities are implemented as planned. This helps the implementers to measure how well they are achieving their targets. This is based on the understanding that the process through which a project is implemented has a lot of effect on its use, operation and maintenance. For example at Carana Corporations, the managers draw an annual work plan for achieving the project targets as well as the monitoring plans, and if the planned activities are not achieved during implementation hence there is a problem with the plan.
Planning reinforces future judgments; Monitoring and evaluation can help organization extract relevant information from past and ongoing activities that can be used as the basis for programmatic fine-tuning, reorientation and future planning. Without effective planning, monitoring and evaluation, it would be impossible to judge if work is going in the right direction, whether progress and success can be claimed, and how future efforts might be improved. UNDP report
Good planning combined with effective monitoring and evaluation can play a major role in enhancing the effectiveness of development programs and projects. Good planning helps us focus on the results that matter, while monitoring and evaluation help us learn from past successes and challenges and inform decision making so that current and future initiatives are better able to improve people’s lives and expand their choices.
In conclusion, Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Implementation are like complete cars with tyres, with poor plan, management will always fail, therefore 21st managers are encouraged to plan well and involve all the different stakeholders during the process becausein planning we establish objectives, and plans; in Organizing, activities are grouped; staffing focuses on recruitment, selection and training of personnel required by the organization. In directing the manager leads, motivates and appraises personnel; whereas controlling is concerned with how well the organization is faring.