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The plan describes the human ability or activities for mental anticipation of action steps needed to achieve a target seem necessary. This creates a plan , commonly called a set of data ordered in time .


Jürgen Wild understands planning as “a systematic, future-oriented thinking through of goals, measures, means and ways to achieve future goals.” Günter Wöhe describes planning as “the mental anticipation of future actions by weighing up various alternative actions and making decisions about the cheapest way.” Planning therefore means the meeting of decisions , the forward-looking are. Planning is therefore future-oriented because it should shape future events and anticipate future actions. It is based on a design request by which the object area is determined, taking into account the goals to be achieved with the help of planning. A flexible scheduling considered alternatives ( "Plan B") if the original plans can not be implemented and expected events do not occur or otherwise. Scenario analyzes are to be included.

The planning takes into account the means with which the goal can be achieved, how these means can be used to achieve the goal at all ( process model ), and how one can control what has been achieved ( control ). As a planning result, short, medium or long-term plans ideally create security of action.

In relation to management and organizations, a plan means an idea, at least in written form (or in the form of a drawing), of the modalities of how a desirable goal can be achieved. The mental and manual work involved in creating a plan is called planning. Planning is the phase up to the approval of a plan before implementation begins. The purpose of planning is to have a realistic approach as to how a goal can be achieved in the most direct way possible.

The abstract plan is a cognitive ability that in general psychology and cognitive science is investigated. A planned procedure is one of the criteria for rationality and intelligence . In the concrete planning , external sources of information and experience are also used.

In neuropsychology , organizing and planning an action are assigned to the executive functions . They try to objectively measure these skills, e.g. B. through the Tower of London Task.

The concept of planning - connotations and reception

With regard to the planned economy in socialist states, planning in West Germany was long regarded as having a negative connotation . In 2011, Hans-Werner Frohn wrote in retrospect about planning :

“Planning was taboo in the Federal Republic until the mid-1960s, both for historical reasons (the four-year plan as an instrument of rule of the Nazi regime ) and for reasons of foreign policy or within Germany ( state economies in the USSR and the GDR). Planning was generally associated with a “danger to freedom”, it was seen as “evidence of political oppression”. Although the first political plans such as the Federal Youth Plan (1950) or the “ Green Plan ” (1955) were passed in the 1950s, only strictly defined policy areas were affected . Ordoliberal market economists such as Federal Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard advocated the position that national planning would be in contradiction to the principles of the market economy . So in 1955 the first initiative of the IPA [note: interparliamentary working group] for a spatial planning law failed .

After Michael Ruck 's phase division of the German planning history, the " Green Charter of Mainau " was adopted in the taboo phase that lasted until 1962. Other western states have proven to be far less hostile to planning. "

Features and functions

In addition to being future- oriented, planning has four other essential characteristics:

Model character
The plan shows an obvious simplification of an overall system. The chosen simplification harbors the risk of insufficient mapping.
Process character
The planning process usually takes place in several stages as a sequence of phases .
Design character
The aim of planning is to actively shape the future in a certain area.
Informational character
Planning provides information for decision-makers, executors and others involved in planning.

The sometimes complex effects of planning can be reduced to four crucial functions:

Early detection function
Structuring of the problem in terms of perception, definition and solution approaches.
Orientation function
Expand scope for action in the future.
Coordination function
Consideration of factual and mutual dependencies across several levels.
Moderation function
Resolution of distributional and conflicts of interest.


The validity of a plan (validity) cannot be taken for granted and taken for granted. A planning is only an abstract illustration or a model of the reality to be expected in successive steps, which also has to be designed in the further course of time. Therefore, as with all models, the planning reflects a simplistic representation of the expected future reality. The underlying simplifications harbor the risk that such a model does not contain decisive features and then the examination of the planning with regard to the

leads to misjudgments. In addition, in ignorance of the processes involved in mapping the plan, the planner can overlook the fact that there are more

  • Chaining of sequential processes
  • Chaining of parallel processes
  • Branches
  • Mergers

that are important for implementation. Automatic test procedures can only detect formal errors such as loops or impossible deadlines. A more extensive semantic check, on the other hand, requires the integration of process knowledge in order to detect errors.


Every plan ages with its implementation. A particular problem arises from the progress made in the implementation of the financial, social and technical details. It is to be expected that the need for time , money and resources will be assessed as changing over time on the basis of the requirements ( specifications ). In general, revised planning will show growth in all of these characteristics. It takes a common discipline to separate the inevitable and the desirable changes in order to continue following the plan. Overall, the planning must follow the need for change accepted by consensus through continuous updating.


Just as the planner and the executing authorities gain knowledge, the creators and recipients of the planned delivery or service or a work in progress recognize an ever increasing number of adversities. In order to avoid that the plan is finally recognized as unfeasible, it must be enforced against such adversities in every step. This is usually done using aids that make early signs easier to perceive. Such signs are given by the executing authorities, they are mostly

  • other allocation of planned resources,
  • different prioritization and chaining,
  • alleged technical impossibility,
  • allegedly false conditions.

The implementation of planning is generally treated under aspects of control. It should be noted, however, that by feedback , a closed-out of the process of implementation rather circle is required.

use cases

All economic subjects ( companies , private households , the state with its subdivisions such as public administration or state-owned companies ) deal with planning issues.

Corporate planning

Corporate planning is an important planning area. According to Erich Gutenberg , it has been one of the operational production factors since 1951 , namely one of the so-called dispositive factors . Important features of planning in business administration are the planning object , planning subject , planning data and planning period . The subject of planning can be the future existing workplaces in a company , the planning subject is the decision-maker who is responsible for workplace planning, and planning data is in particular the personnel capacity required in the future . The planning horizon determines the temporal scope of the planning and is an essential design feature of every planning. Depending on the operational function there are procurement planning , production planning , financial planning , human resources planning and sales planning ( sales planning , marketing plan ). If the planning is rather short-term, one speaks of operational planning , the long-term is called strategic planning .

Planning processes in urban planning and construction

The planning procedure describes all legally standardized planning and decision-making processes within the framework of a planning process. For the area of urban development planning or urban planning, the procedures for drawing up, changing or canceling development plans and zoning plans in Germany are regulated in the building code. In higher-level spatial planning such as spatial planning and state planning , this is also done in the relevant laws of the states. Specialist planning such as landscape planning or regional traffic planning also have legally regulated procedural steps for the preparation of plans. The procedural steps of the plan approval with which major projects such as federal highways or airports are planned are laid down in the Administrative Procedure Act.

As a rule, formal planning procedures contain resolutions by political bodies for the preparation and determination of the respective plans as well as participation of the public and technically relevant authorities or other bodies responsible for public affairs.

In addition to the legally standardized planning procedures, there are numerous informal plans. In the area of ​​urban planning, these are, for example, the urban development plan, the master plan or the urban development framework plan .

In urban planning , the planning process is an umbrella term for all formal and informal planning and decision-making processes. It thus combines the legally binding level with supplementary, non-mandatory plans and plans. It only emerged in the 1990s, when the understanding of planning was increasingly changing. The inclusion of informal plans such as B. Urban development plans and informal procedures such as B. City management and Charrette procedures , which are not legally stipulated or standardized, were seen as a suitable means of making planning more transparent and easier to understand. The increased transparency benefits authorities and citizens alike. Adding to the formal plans also increases the quality of a plan, as it no longer follows the same rigid pattern, but gains flexibility.

An example of legally standardized municipal planning is youth welfare planning , within the framework of which the public youth welfare agencies determine the existence of facilities and services, determine the needs for a medium-term period, taking into account the wishes, needs and interests of young people and their custodians to plan the necessary projects in good time and sufficiently to meet the demand. The aim is to ensure that youth welfare planning and other local and regional planning are coordinated and that the planning as a whole takes into account the needs and interests of young people and their families ( Section 80 of Book VIII of the Social Code ).

The development planning is the most important planning tools to guide and order of urban development. Within the urban land-use planning, all relevant issues are taken into account in the context of a weighing up (§ § 1 , § 1a Building Code ). In addition to urban planning law, the planning instrument of landscape planning works in the external area under planning law .

In the building industry , the concept of building planning exists , in architecture there is also the concept of design for sub-areas of an architect's planning, the entirety of which in Germany is divided into service phases according to HOAI .

Project planning

Project planning is one of the main tasks of project management .

Family planning

The concept of family planning is usually reduced to measures by couples to plan the number and timing of the birth of children .

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Planning  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikiquote: Plan  - Quotes

Individual evidence

  1. Jürgen Wild: Fundamentals of corporate planning , 1974, p. 13.
  2. Günter Wöhe: Introduction to General Business Administration , 2013, p. 140.
  3. Christoph Schneeweiß, Planning: Systems Analysis and Decision Theory Basics , 1991, p. 1 f.
  4. Christoph Schneeweiß: Planning: Systems analytical and decision-theoretical foundations , 1991, p. 5 f.
  5. Bibliographisches Institut & FA Brockhaus AG, Meyers Lexikon , Article Planning , Volume 12, 1974
  6. ^ Gabriele Metzler, Conceptions of Political Action from Adenauer to Brandt: Political Planning in the Pluralistic Society , 2005, p. 12
  7. Gabriele Metzler: Conceptions of political action from Adenauer to Brandt: political planning in the pluralistic society , 2005, p. 83 ff.
  8. Karsten Runge: The development of landscape planning in its constitutional phase 1935-1973 , series landscape development of the TU Berlin 73, 1990, p. 143.
  9. ^ Michael Ruck: Shaping Society. Political planning in the 1960s and 1970s , in: Sabine Mecking / Janbernd Oebbecke (ed.), Between Efficiency and Legitimacy, 2000, pp. 35 ff.
  10. Hans-Werner Frohn: 50 years “Green Charter from Mainau” , in: Study archive environmental history 16, 2011, pp. 56–63
  11. ^ Stefan Krappweis / Henning Nuissl: Local and regional overall planning. Introductory event at the Technical University of Berlin , WS 2004/05
  12. Erich Gutenberg: Fundamentals of Business Administration , Volume 1: Production , 1951, p. 3 ff.
  13. Günter Wöhe: Introduction to General Business Administration , 2013, p. 63
  14. Wolfgang Lück (Ed.): Lexikon der Betriebswirtschaft , 1983, p. 895.