4 Types of Planning in Management that Every Manager Must Know

4 Types of Planning in Management that Every Manager Must Know

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Jan 19, 2024 11:05 IST

Knowing the different types of planning in management is pivotal for effective organisational growth. From operational to strategic, each planning type plays a unique role in steering businesses towards success. Get inside the intricacies of operational, contingency, strategic, and tactical planning today. Find how these planning methodologies pave the way for proactive decision-making and mitigating uncertainties, effortlessly. 


Planning is the most crucial part of management. It comes first in the core management functions, POSDCORB (Planning, Organising, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting and Budgeting). 

Most commonly, planning gives the direction for implementing a business strategy. But, there is more to the approach in this process. It is not just necessary for long-term goals, but even repetitive processes. That’s how there are different types of planning used in management.

Today, the blog will cover the 4 types of planning in management and help you understand its importance. 

Importance of Planning in Management

Some reasons to know why planning in management is important. 

Establishes Direction 

Planning is all about creating objectives and meeting them without any hassle. When you plan well, you have clarity on what it will take to achieve the goals. In a formal or informal organisation, proper planning gives the group or team direction for meeting the objectives. 

Removes Risks

Planning removes risks involved in the decisions you make. Sometimes, plans are made to withstand unforeseen circumstances. By anticipating risks in the planning process, you can reduce uncertainties in the future. 

Improves Efficiency

In an organisation, planning also looks into what can be done better and cost-effectively. Without planning, a department may unknowingly utilise too many or less resources. 

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4 Types of Planning in Management

Now that you got a gist of its importance, here are the 4 types of planning in management. 

Operational Planning 

It is the kind of planning required for day-to-day activities. Organisations use such kind of planning with extreme detail to clearly identifying the who, what, when, where and why of all parties involved. 

And, there are some variations within it. 

Operational planning can be of two types – either single-use plans or ongoing plans. 

Single Use Plans 

As the name suggests, single-use plans can be used only until the objective is achieved, after which they are of no purpose. 

Example of single-use plan  

You can think of single-use plan in the context of a marketing campaign. There is one specific goal, and once it is achieved, the marketing department may start with a different plan for another purpose. 

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Ongoing Plans

Ongoing plans are repetitive in nature and can be modified for evolving purposes in the future. They are also characterised by short-term plans. 

Example of an ongoing plan  

An easy example of an ongoing plan is perhaps the planning that goes into the recruitment of employees in an organisation. The HR department’s planning here is repetitive and short term. Once the objective is achieved, the same process is followed in the future with little or no modifications. 

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Contingency Planning 

Also known as ‘special planning’ or colloquially 'Plan B', it is used for situations when changes cannot be foreseen. It is that ‘what if’ scenario that a business manager needs to consider so that the company does not face losses. That ‘what if’ scenario can be loss of data in a data security firm, failed product in the market, etc. 

Probably the recent damaging ‘what if’ scenario for many businesses was the pandemic. It was unprecedented. Many organisations that did not have a solid contingency plan had to lay off their employees, and most small businesses had to shut shop completely. The ones who did, shifted their focus to growth prospects in the cloud or digital technologies. 

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is used in light of achieving big goals in the long term. It is more of a high-level planning done by the top-level managers in the organisation. 

Such a kind of planning in management is used for starting a business. A strategic plan includes the vision and mission of the company. It also includes defining timelines, establishing KPIs (key performance indicators) and tracking their progress. 

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Its use is also seen when there is a sudden change in the market trend, and the business has to adapt to it within a specific timeline. 

Tactical Planning  

Tactical planning refers to task prioritisation for achieving short term goals. This is one of the crucial types of planning in management that helps achieve those goals as prescribed in a strategic plan. 

In an organisation, tactical planning is approached by mid-level management. The goals to be achieved are set for one or two departments and then moving on to the next in a tactical plan.  

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How the Types of Planning in Management Work

In an organisation, these types of planning generally follow a specific order. 

Strategic planning is considered to happen first. Followed by that, is tactical planning. Then comes operational planning, which is followed by contingency planning. 

Let’s elaborate on that. 

Strategic planning starts with the top management. Then, the middle management focuses on tactical planning to achieve the goals defined through strategic planning. 

While goals are set on the top and middle levels, the daily activities are important to plan. If there are changes to be made after monitoring the progress, they are done. This is done at the level of operational planning. 

A contingency plan is used in special circumstances when there are unexpected changes. 

Who is Responsible for Planning in Management?

It is generally the top level of management that is in charge of planning in an organisation. Now, it depends if subordinates are involved in the planning process depending on the leadership style of the organisation.

Best Courses on Planning in Management

Whether in human resources, project management, or any other sub-domain of management, you can learn about planning with the following courses. 

  1. Strategic Workforce Planning Certification Program on Human Capital Institute
  2. Project Planning: Putting It All Together on Coursera
  3. Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management on Coursera

You can also take some business management courses to advance your methods and approach to planning. 

Parting Thoughts

These are the four types of planning in management that you should know as a manager. If you aspire to be one, read on management theories and principles of management. While you learn such concepts, take up the best management courses online to move up in your career faster. 
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FAQs on Planning and Importance to Organisations

Why is understanding the planning function crucial in the realm of management?

The planning function in management serves as a cornerstone for organisational success. Learning different planning types provides a structured approach towards proactive decision-making, mitigating risks, and ensuring efficient resource allocation. It fosters a clear roadmap for achieving goals, regardless of the leadership style, enabling managers to navigate challenges effectively.

How do the various types of planning aid organisations in achieving larger objectives under different leadership styles?

Each planning type, be it strategic, tactical, operational, or contingency, plays a pivotal role in steering organisations towards bigger objectives. Whether under hierarchical, democratic, or laissez-faire leadership styles, these planning methodologies offer a framework to align short-term goals with long-term visions, facilitating adaptability, risk mitigation, and goal achievement.

How do different leadership styles influence the implementation of various planning types?

Irrespective of leadership styles – autocratic, participative, or transformational – diverse planning types offer adaptable frameworks. Strategic planning aligns with visionary leadership, while tactical planning aids in goal attainment, fitting well with task-oriented leadership styles. Such flexibility in planning methodologies ensures cohesion between leadership approaches and organisational goals.

How does strategic planning contribute to organisational success under various leadership styles?

Strategic planning, often driven by top-level managers, fosters a synergy between leadership styles and company vision. It aligns with visionary or transformational leadership by setting long-term goals, establishing KPIs, and guiding the organisation towards growth, adaptability, and competitive advantage, irrespective of the leadership style in place.

How does an understanding of diverse planning types contribute to organisational adaptability across varying structures?

Proficiency in different planning methodologies empowers organisations to navigate changes efficiently, irrespective of their hierarchical, flat, or matrix-based structures. Strategic planning aids in foreseeing market shifts and adapting swiftly, while tactical planning facilitates goal attainment in dynamic environments. This adaptability ensures that organisations, regardless of their structural nuances, remain agile and resilient in the face of evolving challenges, thereby fostering sustained growth.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Senior Executive Content

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio