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Nature and Characteristics of Planning :

1. Planning, an intellectual process :

Planning is intellectual in work and in its nature. It is mental work. The facts
relevant to the situation are related to the manager’s experience and knowledge.
Decisions cannot be made on guess work. A mental exercise is required to foresee the
pros and cons of various alternatives.

2. Primary function in the process of management :

Planning is the first function of a planner. Other functions like organizing,
Directing, etc., are followed by planning. Without planning no other function can be
performed. It can be said that planning is the function that needs to be done first of all.

3. Focus on Objectives :
A plan starts with the setting of objectives and then makes efforts to realize them
by developing policies, procedures, strategies, etc.

4. Planning is a selective process :

It involves the selection of the best one after making a careful analysis of Various
alternatives, It is concerned with the decision making of what, how, when, and by whom
it is to be done.

5. Planning is Continuous :
Planning is never ending activity of a manager. A manager should Constantly
watch the progress of his plans. He must constantly monitor the conditions both within
and outside the organization, to determine if changes are required in his plans.

6. It is a decision making process :

Decision-making is an integral part of planning. It is the process of Choosing
among alternatives. Obviously decision-making will occur at many points in the
planning process.

7. Planning is Flexible :
The process of planning should be adaptable to the changes that take place in the
environment. If planning is made rigid then it will not be able to achieve goals. It is a
dynamic process and it adjusts with the needs and requirements of the situation.

8. Leads to efficiency and economy :

Planning involves the efficient utilization of the resources, that is 5M’s. The
guiding principles of a good plan are-maximum output and profit at minimum cost. To
increase the efficiency of the enterprise is the main purpose of planning.

9. Planning is an integrated process :

It involves not only the determination of objectives but also the formulation of
sound policies, programmes, procedures and strategies for the accomplishment of these
objectives. It is the first of managerial functions and facilitates other functions like
organizing, staffing, etc.

10. Planning is pervasive :

It is a pervasive activity covering all levels of enterprise. While top Management
is concerned with strategical planning; the middle and lower management are concerned
with administrative and operational planning respectively.