Planning principles

Principles to keep in mind to plan more efficiently

  • The principle of current choices
  • The principle of planning stability
  • The principle of resistance to change
  • The principle of uniform planning outcomes
  • The principle of commitment
  • The principle of limiting factor

The principle of current choices

Current choices tend to limit future actions.

For example, the machinery an organisation buy now will determine to a great extent what technology can be used in future.  Before making decisions, we must make sure it does not limit future progress.

The principle of planning stability

The stability of a plan is usually inversely proportional to the length of the period  we plan for.

The further into the future we plan, the more the uncertainty and the less chance of things working out as planned.  The longer the period we plan for, the more flexible the plan must be.

The principle of resistance to change

The more the planned changes differ from current practice, to more resistance can be expected.

People fear change because of the uncertainty associated with it.  The bigger the change, the bigger the fear and the more the resistance.  The only way to overcome resistance to change is to involve people or at least communicate the nature and purpose of the changes.

The principle of uniform planning outcomes

Managers must understand the importance of a uniform planning bases, and agree to use it.  Different departments throughout the organisation must use the same assumptions regarding aspects such as the types of markets, sales volumes, prices, products, inflation rate, costs, pay rates, and so forth.  Imagine the chaos if the production department assumes that the sales price of a product is R50 per unit, while the marketing department works at a sales price of R30 per unit.

The principle of commitment

A logical plan must include a course of action to fulfill commitments management make for the future.

Business must calculate how long it will take before a project repay initial investment.  The business must also determine how long it will take to achieve the required production levels to meet its obligations.  The organisation must be able to deliver the products for the full duration of a contact.

The principle of the limiting factor

To determine the best course of action, we must first identify the critical success factors as well as the limiting factors standing in the way of goal achievement.   A plan can have different limiting factors at different stages throughout the plan.  By identifying these, a  manager can focus on what really matters and not waste valuable time on factors that do not significantly affect the outcome of the plan.


Hannes Kruger, Management training manual.  Written for the Meat Board, Chapter 2

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