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What is planning

Definition: Planning is the process of establishing the goals and objectives of a project and determining the resources and actions needed to achieve those goals.

It involves creating a detailed project plan that outlines the steps and tasks required to complete the project, as well as identifying potential risks or challenges and developing strategies to manage them.

The goal of planning is to create a roadmap for the project that ensures its successful completion.

To do this, managers need to have a good understanding of the current situation and where they want to be in the future. 

Types of planning

There are four types of planning: 

  1. Strategic
  2. Operational
  3. Tactical
  4. Contingency

Strategic planning

Strategic planning is defining a company's direction and goals and allocating its resources to pursue them. It consists of analyzing the competitive environment and identifying external and internal factors that can affect the organization.

An example of strategic planning for a SaaS company that offers project management software and wants to expand its customer base and increase revenue would look like this:

  • Conduct market research to understand the needs and preferences of its target audience.
  • Analyze the competitive landscape to identify potential opportunities and threats. 

Based on this analysis, the company sets the following goals:

  • Introduce new features and functionality to the software that addresses the specific needs and pain points of the construction and engineering industries.
  • Develop targeted marketing campaigns to reach small and medium-sized businesses in these industries through targeted online advertising, social media marketing, and content marketing.
  • Increase customer retention by providing exceptional customer support and offering a loyalty program for long-term subscribers.

To achieve these goals, the company allocates needed resources for marketing, development, and customer support staff.

Operational planning

Operational planning is the process of defining specific actions and resources needed to achieve the goals set out in the strategic plan. 

It involves developing detailed plans and budgets to implement the strategies and tactics outlined in the strategic plan and identifying and addressing any potential risks or challenges that may arise.

The example SaaS company has identified introducing new features and functionality to its software as a key goal in its strategic plan. To achieve this goal, the company develops an operational plan that outlines the specific actions and resources needed to execute this strategy. 

The operational plan includes tasks such as:

  • Implementing new features.
  • Allocating development resources and setting goals and timelines for developing the new features.
  • Developing a budget for testing and quality assurance efforts.
  • Assigning staff members to oversee the development and testing of the new features.

Tactical planning

Tactical planning develops plans and actions to achieve the goals set out in the operational plan

It involves breaking down the larger goals and objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks that can be completed within a shorter time frame, typically ranging from a few weeks to a few months. 

Tactical planning includes developing content marketing campaigns, promoting new features, assigning tasks to developers, etc.

Contingency planning

Contingency planning is the process of identifying potential risks or challenges that may arise and developing plans to mitigate or address them

To ensure the success of the launch of the new features, our example SaaS company develops a contingency plan to mitigate potential risks or challenges that may arise. 

The contingency plan includes the following measures:

  • Identifying potential disruptions to the development process, such as staff illness or unexpected delays, and minimizing their impact on the timeline for launching the new software.
  • Identifying potential IT issues, such as server outages or security breaches, and ensuring that the software remains accessible to customers and secure.
  • Sudden change in market conditions or a major competitor entering the market.

How to plan in Mindmesh

Mindmesh is a productivity and project management tool that helps users plan, organize, and execute tasks and projects. Here's how to use the Mindmesh app to plan:

  1. Log in to Mindmesh and create a new card in the app. Give it a name and add any relevant details or information.

2. Organize the tasks by dragging and dropping them across days or snoozing them in the calendar to work on what matters. Get access to the planning view and get an overview by clicking the W key on the Mindmesh desk.

3.  Link relevant cards to create a task hierarchy:

4. Organize your tasks with Tags and manage multiple projects with Boards:

5. Assign tasks to other team members:

6. Keep track of completed assignments.

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Article FAQs

Who is in charge of the planning process?
It depends on the organization. In most, planning is done by upper and mid-level management. However, planning is a team effort, and all organization members are involved in the process.
What are the 4 types of planning?
The 4 types of planning are strategic, operational, tactical, and contingency planning.
What is the planning process?
The planning process is the systematic approach that an organization takes to define its goals and develop strategies and plans to achieve those goals. It consists of a series of steps that are designed to ensure that the organization's resources are used effectively and efficiently to achieve its desired outcomes.
What is the difference between planning and organizing?
Planning is the process of setting goals and figuring out how to achieve them. Organizing is the process of putting those plans into action by creating a structure and assigning tasks. Planning is the "what" and organizing is the "how."
What is the difference between planning and scheduling?
Planning is figuring out what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Scheduling is a subset of planning that involves creating a timeline for those tasks and assigning them to specific individuals or groups.

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