There are a number steps involved in planning. The actual number can vary, but every planning approach share similar constructs. Those include creating the premise, information gathering, mission orientation and implementation.
To create an effective plan of action and before planning can occur, the premise of the situation must be established. The premise is a statement of the problem or a synopsis of the situation. The premise does not need to be an actual problem. It can be a perceived problem. The point of the plan is to determine the reality of the premise.
Fact gathering and literature review is another important step to planning. It is possible, but not advisable to enter into a planning mode without an understanding of factors influencing the situation. This step should include positive and negative influences, factual matters relating to the premise and abstract factors that may prove useful later. In reality this step never ends. The literature and facts should continually be upgraded or added.
Mission orientation is a broad step. This step includes deciding the mission, issuing objectives, budgeting and establishing a vision. In the simplest terms, mission orientation is how the plan should work. It provides the framework for creating a useful system of achievement.
The final step of planning is the implementation of the plan. This final step may be concrete work products or abstract cultural changes within an organization. The implementation may also signal the death of a plan if it determines the plan is not worthwhile.