||This article's introduction section may not adequately summarize its contents. (December 2012)|
Planning (also called forethought) is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal.
Planning involves the creation and maintenance of a plan. As such, planning is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior. This thought process is essential to the creation and refinement of a plan, or integration of it with other plans; that is, it combines forecasting of developments with the preparation of scenarios of how to react to them.
An important, albeit often ignored aspect of planning, is the relationship it holds with forecasting. Forecasting can be described as predicting what the future will look like, whereas planning predicts what the future should look like. The counterpart to planning is spontaneous order.
Planning topics 
Psychological aspects 
Planning is one of the executive functions of the brain, encompassing the neurological processes involved in the formulation, evaluation and selection of a sequence of thoughts and actions to achieve a desired goal. Various studies utilizing a combination of neuropsychological, neuropharmacological and functional neuroimaging approaches have suggested there is a positive relationship between impaired planning ability and damage to the frontal lobe.
A specific area within the mid-dorsolateral frontal cortex located in the frontal lobe has been implicated as playing an intrinsic role in both cognitive planning and associated executive traits such as working memory.
Disruption of the neural pathways, via various mechanisms such as traumatic brain injury, or the effects of neurodegenerative diseases between this area of the frontal cortex and the basal ganglia specifically the striatum (cortico-striatal pathway), may disrupt the processes required for normal planning function.
Neuropsychological tests 
There are a variety of neuropsychological tests which can be used to measure variance of planning ability between the subject and controls.
- Tower of Hanoi (TOH-R), a puzzle invented in 1883 by the French mathematician Édouard Lucas. There are different variations of the puzzle, the classic version consists of three rods and usually seven to nine discs of subsequently smaller size. Planning is a key component of the problem solving skills necessary to achieve the objective, which is to move the entire stack to another rod, obeying the following rules:
- Tower of London (TOL) is another test that was developed in 1992 (Shallice 1992) specifically to detect deficits in planning as may occur with damage to the frontal lobe. test participants with damage to the left anterior frontal lobe demonstrated planning deficits (i.e., greater number of moves required for solution).
In test participants with damage to the right anterior, and left or right posterior areas of the frontal lobes showed no impairment. The results implicating the left anterior frontal lobes involvement in solving the TOL were supported in concomitant neuroimaging studies which also showed a reduction in regional cerebral blood flow to the left pre-frontal lobe. For the number of moves, a significant negative correlation was observed for the left prefrontal area: i.e. subjects that took more time planning their moves showed greater activation in the left prefrontal area.
Planning in organizations 
In organizations, planning is a management process, concerned with defining goals for company's future direction and determining on the missions and resources to achieve those target. To meet the goals, managers may develop plans such as a business plan or a marketing plan. Planning always has a purpose. The purpose may be achievement of certain goals or targets.
Main characteristics of planning in organizations are:
- Planning increases the efficiency of an organization.
- It reduces the risks involved in modern business activities.
- It facilitates proper coordination within an organization.
- It aids in organizing all available resources.
- It gives right direction to the organization.
- It is important to maintain a good control.
- It helps to achieve objectives of the organization.
- It motivates the personnel of an organization.
- It encourages managers' creativity and innovation.
- It also helps in decision making.
The planning helps to achieve these goals or target by using the available time and resources. The concept of planning is to identify what the organization wants to do by using the four questions which are "where are we today in terms of our business or strategy planning? Where are we going? Where do we want to go? How are we going to get there?..."
Planning in public policy 
Public policy planning includes environmental, land use, regional, urban and spatial planning. In many countries, the operation of a town and country planning system is often referred to as "planning" and the professionals which operate the system are known as "planners".
It is a conscious as well as sub-conscious activity. It is "an anticipatory decision making process" that helps in coping with complexities. It is deciding future course of action from amongst alternatives. It is a process that involves making and evaluating each set of interrelated decisions. It is selection of missions, objectives and "translation of knowledge into action." A planned performance brings better results compared to an unplanned one. A manager's job is planning, monitoring and controlling. Planning and goal setting are important traits of an organization. It is done at all levels of the organization. Planning includes the plan, the thought process, action, and implementation.Planning gives more power over the future. Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and who should do it. This bridges the gap from where the organization is to where it wants to be. The planning function involves establishing goals and arranging them in logical order.
Planning process 
Patrick Montana and Bruce Charnov outline a three-step result-oriented process for planning:
- Choosing a destination
- Evaluating alternative routes, and
- Deciding the specific course of your plan.
Types of planning 
There are many types of planning.
- Automated planning and scheduling
- Architectural planning
- Business plan
- Comprehensive planning
- Contingency planning
- Economic planning
- Enterprise architecture planning
- Environmental planning
- Event planning and production
- Family planning
- Financial planning
- Land use planning
- Landscape planning
- Life planning
- Marketing plan
- Network resource planning
- Operational planning
- Regional planning
- Site planning
- Spatial planning
- Strategic planning
- Succession planning
- Urban planning
See also 
- Automated planning and scheduling
- Balanced scorecard
- Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment (CPFR) (Supply chain management)
- Futures Studies
- Planning fallacy
- Project management
- Strategic planning
- Time management
- How does forecasting relate to planning? ForecastingPrinciples.com
- Owen AM.Cognitive planning in humans: neuropsychological, neuroanatomical and neuropharmacological perspectives. Prog Neurobiol. 1997 Nov;53(4):431-50.PMID 9421831
- Harvey JM, O'Callaghan MJ, Mohay H. Executive function of children with extremely low birthweight: a case control study. Dev Med Child Neurol. 1999 May;41(5):292-7.PMID 10378753
- Aarnoudse-Moens CS, Weisglas-Kuperus N, van Goudoever JB, Oosterlaan J.Meta-analysis of neurobehavioral outcomes in very preterm and/or very low birth weight children. Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):717-28. Epub 27 July 2009. PMID 19651588
- Welsh MC, Huizinga M. The development and preliminary validation of the Tower of Hanoi-revised. Assessment. 2001 Jun;8(2):167-76.PMID 11428696
- Anderson JR, Albert MV, Fincham JM.Tracing problem solving in real time: fMRI analysis of the subject-paced Tower of Hanoi. J Cogn Neurosci. 2005 Aug;17(8):1261-74.PMID 16197682
- Shallice, T. (1982). "Specific impairments of planning". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 298 (1089): 199–209. doi:10.1098/rstb.1982.0082. PMID 6125971.
- Dalziel, Murray, and Stephen C. Schoonover. "Changing Ways: A Practical Tool for Implementing Change Within Organizations." New York: Amacom/American Management Association, 1988. Print.
- Barron's Management book fourth edition, Authors: Patrick J. Montana and Bruce H. Charnov
Further reading 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Planning|
|Look up planning in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Allmendinger, Phil and Michael Gunder, 2005, "Applying Lacanian Insight and a Dash of Derridean Deconstruction to Planning's 'Dark Side'," Planning Theory, vol. 4, pp. 87–112.
- Das, J P, Binod C Kar, Rauno K Parrila. Cognitive Planning: The Psychological Basis of Intelligent Behaviour. Sage Publications Pvt. Ltd; illustrated edition. English ISBN 0-8039-9287-4 ISBN 978-0-8039-9287-0
- Gunder, Michael, 2003, "Passionate Planning for the Others' Desire: An Agonistic Response to the Dark Side of Planning," Progress in Planning, Vol. 60, no. 3, October, pp. 235–319.
- Pløger, John, 2001, "Public Participation and the Art of Governance," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 219–241.
- Roy, Ananya, 2008, "Post-Liberalism: On the Ethico-Politics of Planning," Planning Theory, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 92–102.
- Tang, Wing-Shing, 2000, "Chinese Urban Planning at Fifty: An Assessment of the Planning Theory Literature," Journal of Planning Literature, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 347–366.
- Yiftachel, Oren, 1995, "The Dark Side of Modernism: Planning as Control of an Ethnic Minority," in Sophie Watson and Katherine Gibson, eds., Postmodern Cities and Spaces (Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell), pp. 216–240.
- Yiftachel, Oren, 1998, "Planning and Social Control: Exploring the Dark Side," Journal of Planning Literature, vol. 12, no. 4, May, pp. 395–406.
- Yiftachel, Oren, 2006, "Re-engaging Planning Theory? Towards South-Eastern Perspectives," Planning Theory, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 211–222.