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Six Planning Tools and Techniques

Planning is a complex action that consists of a sequence of preconceived steps. They include the six major planning tools and techniques that managers in any sphere use, which are forecasting, contingency planning, scenario planning, benchmark analysis, participatory planning, and goal setting.

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Forecasting helps predict what might happen in the future. Contingency planning and scenario planning are similar, the first one being short-term while the other is a long-term prognosis of things that might go wrong and preparing a particular plan of action to deal with them. Benchmarking is a planning technique that involves internal and external comparison to assess current performance and develop a plan of action to improve in the future. Participatory planning is supposed to involve all stakeholders in the process of planning. The last tool is goal setting, which is an essential element of any plan.

One of the most important though often neglected parts of planning is participatory planning. If people who are involved in the project do not understand what is going on, they can significantly impede the implementation down to its ruining. I could use this technique to organize a day-care/educational group for children in which I am currently engaged. The team includes two organizers, a person responsible for the curriculum, and several other members in charge of miscellaneous issues.

Not all of the team members seem to be aware of the strategic design. Growing uncertainty makes them show an initiative, that is out of place, and prevents them from following the intended plan. The failure to communicate openly causes misunderstanding, confusion, and interpersonal tensions. To explain to everyone how their input is going to be applied, and who in the team is involved in which part of the plan, is of utmost importance. The planning and organization process will benefit from using the participatory planning, should it be implemented.

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