Planning Process Web Sites
12 Jul 11

Related Topics
The descriptions of how to prepare a business case often include descriptions of a planning process.

Similarly, most descriptions of risk management involve a planning process, although not often regarded as such.

Description and explanation of Planning Processes
Carter McNamara (a familiar name on this Portal) provides a detailed description of a planning process, with pointers to application such as strategic planning. The planning process is explained in a logical and easy to understand manner. The site provides considerable amount of information relevant to the topic of planning, including pointers to useful reference books. A more detailed description of the process applied ot strategic planning is given at . Although the process in outline is similar to POWER, it does not cover option-generation or evaluation of options. However, the principles reflected in the process are similar to the planning principles that we cover. [Tsung-Ming Chen, Mar 07]

The "Planning Cycle: A Planning Process for Middle-Sized Projects" is described on Mindtools. This reputable website has been providing ‘the practical skills needed to excel in your career’ since 1995. The site is managed by James Manktelow who holds an MBA from London Business School and has considerable practical managerial experience. He employs a diverse and wide ranging team of experts to ensure the quality of information posted to the website. This component of the website describes a Planning Process for mid-sized projects. It provides a diagrammatical representation of a Planning cycle that is essentially identical to the POWER process. It also provides a detailed yet succinct description of each step in the process with easy to follow examples. The most useful aspect of this site is that it provides detailed techniques to complete each phase of the cycle. This transforms the process from a theory into something quantifiable, and will enhance understanding how to execute the POWER process. [Daniel Anderson, Mar 07]

A detailed description of the decision-making process is available in the Decision Process Guidebook produced by the US Bureau of Reclamation. It covers all the steps in planning, from preparation through to follow up. It has useful definitions, including values. [Michael Spencer, 4 Oct 01]

The design profession has developed its own set of problem-solving/ design processes. For example, argumentation-based design rationale by Simone Stumpf of University College London introduces IBIS, Question Options Criteria, and other processes. Note the similarity between QOC and Value-based Thinking by Keeney (not mentioned in the paper). [Michael Hall, 13 Jun 02]

Problem Solving is comprehensively detailed with information about systems planning. It is part of the Free Management Library, and is filled with references to thinking tools and techniques. [EJL, 2 Oct 00] is a mysterious little site with a number of toolkits for preparing a business case, links to a few sites about business cases, and a brief differentiation between business cases and business plans. The differentiation is important for SP students to note. [Belinda Gardon, 2 Jul 01]

There is a considerable body of work about 'naturalistic decision-making', first described by Gary Klein in his work about Recognition-Primed Decision Making. This approach describes what firefighters and platoon commanders, and other faced with rapid deicsion-making (with limited choices), actually do. Naturalistic DM and others is presented from a reporter's perspective. It gives an overview on a few new techniques that have been developed concerning system planning and decision making, and the site is relatively unbiased and well designed. It is easy to understand and navigate through. [Alias; JEL 12 Jan 01]

A useful critique of Business Process Re-engineering (an important application of systems planning, although often not recognized as such) can be found in Yogesh Malhotra's 1998 paper. This paper, found on his very useful Brint site, contains an interesting overview of BRP and its criticisms. There are live links to many of the key papers on this topic. [Duncan Anderson, 13 Aug 00]

The description of how to analyse business case studies from Hitt's book published by South-Western College Publications (part of Thomson Learning) covers the Systems Planning steps. The analysis is intended for students learning how to present a business strategy or policy plan. The site supports the publication of a Management textbook in 1998 and so is credible. [Xinwei Kong, 17 Aug 00]

Examples of the Use of Planning Processes
A description of planning for land use is provided by the US Department of the Interior. The pdf available from this site covers the detailed steps in the process, sources and uses of data. [Martin Griffiths, Jun 07]

The Challenge Network (primarily operated by Oliver Sparrow for a network of consultants in strategy planning, so a commercial vehicle) provides a detailed description of a planning process. The description does not cover the resources required to carry out the process. It highlights the people in the process, aimed at senior managers. [Mark Smythe, Apr 07].

The Tribal Energy Development website (“A Guide to Tribal Energy Development”) is written and maintained by the US Department of Energy. The information contained within this website is therefore considered reliable and accurate. This website is thorough in content and simplistic to navigate. It clearly identifies each step of the strategic planning process and provides a detailed explanation and relevant guidance on each step. The examples given are relevant to energy development only. The strategic planning process describes similar steps identified in the POWER WHAT planning process. An additional step that has been included is a champion step; it describes the importance for an effective leader to be nominated during this process. What is lacking on this website is a diagram reflecting the link between each step that would more effectively highlight the plan as an evolving document. [Lisa Hubbard, Mar 07]

The Educational and Training Unit for Democracy and Development within South Africa provides a detailed description of the use of Logical Framework (often used by UN agencies for development planning, see other sites). The site offers a basic 8 step planning cycle that can be used for any situation or project, large or small. The planning guide follows the steps of the POWER process very closely, only using different phrases to identify various steps. The only addition that would assist this site would be the inclusion of a diagrammatical version of the 8 step planning process. The site also gives an example of this type of plan in action, located at [Paul Goldsmith, Mar 07,]

The Biodiversity website provided by the Department of the Environment and Water Resources, Australian Government is designed to ‘provide Councils with the tools, resources and contacts’ to allow planning of Council operations that encompass all aspects of biodiversity. The site includes a comprehensive method for planning which can be used by all councils across Australia (or the world!). The site is sponsored by an Australian Government Department so can be considered trustworthy. The planning process displayed consists of 5 steps, called benchmarks. The process is illustrated with an easy to follow diagram that has links to detailed actions needed to achieve each benchmark. Each benchmark also has links to case studies, tools and resources from governments throughout Australia of their past and current biodiversity plans. [Dom Burge, Mar 07,]

The "Farm Succession Planning Steps And Checklist" appears to be a very specific example of systems planning but it exemplifies a detailed process in action. The site provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture details a comprehensive 5- step planning method for succession planning of farms. This process highlights the looping nature of planning by describing iterative processes within each step and incorporating monitoring into the execution phase. [Alexander Matthews, Mar 07,]

The Law Enforcement IS Planning site gives some detailed checklists and advice about how to implement an information system. It is divided up nicely between different headings, and the background and banners make the site pleasing to the eye. It has a bit of information, but isn't too specific nor too hard to understand. [Alias; JEL, 10 Jan]

Business Process Improvement from FAA A thoroughly detailed page, this site from FAA has a large number of different sub-sections, all of which are filled with useful information regarding systems planning and information management. The site is divided neatly in to three sections, Purpose, Modelling and Programming, yet is not unwieldy for most users to be able to access with out a problem. [Xianfeng Su, 11 Nov 00; JEL, 10 Jan]

Mind Tools - Problem Solving Techniques gives a good amount of information concerning the products it has on offer. Each link is well written, which is to be expected of a site that is trying to sell products for Mind Tools. Despite the obviously commercial applications of the site, it still makes for interesting reading for anyone who is interested in systems planning. [Duncan Anderson, 22 May 00; JEL, 10 Jan]

Planning Information Systems is a very dry site. It contains nothing that really makes it stand out from any of the other pages, yet it is not light on the level of information that it gives, so it is by no means poor in its presentation either. The site is on long text file, interspersed here and there with a few links that go to footnotes at the end of the document. It contains some useful information, but is not really presented in an interesting fashion at all. [Adam Gower, 19 Apr 00; JEL, 10 Jan]

ITSP planning process for U Colorado IT page is frankly appalling. It is very mediocre in its layout, which also takes a long time to load. Whilst it is understandable that some errors may be present in any piece of work, having an obvious grammatical error in the heading and disclaimer of the page leaves no good impression on anyone who can pick these sorts of problems up. [Peter Lambert, 7 Oct 00; JEL, 23 Jan]

Whilst this site about a dynamic theory of Strategic Information Systems Planning is full of interesting theories and information concerning systems planning, it is presented in a very dry fashion. There is little to hold the readers interest other than the information that it is trying to pass on, and this information is easily available on sites that have more to hold the readers' attention. The site has a tendency to waffle on a bit, and whilst the information is interesting, it is surrounded by a lot of padding. [Shane Glassock, 15 Oct 00; JEL, 22 Jan]

The North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium (US) provides quite a detailed description of how to form a Technology Plan for schools. This description also gives many good points about basic principles to be followed in doing the planning process and other useful techniques. It has links to sites describing technological options. Covers stakeholder analysis and other principles. Has some references about planning. Government sponsored site, so credible. [Marshitah Mohammad, 14 Aug 00]

Tools and techniques
There are several tool set that cover the range of planning steps. They range from stakeholder analysis, through cost-benefit-analysis, to project management. The descriptions of these tools and techniques are given in the more specific pages of this portal.