Planning is determining what needs to be done, by whom, and by when, in order to fulfill one’s assigned responsibility. It is important to prepare a plan keeping in view the necessities of the organization or project. It serves the following three (3) critical functions: 
- Helps management to clarify, focus, and research their businesses or project’s development and prospects.
- Provides a considered and logical framework within which a business can develop and pursue business strategies over the next three to five years.
- Offers a Benchmark against which actual performance can be measured and reviewed.
They are nine (9) major components of the planning phase. These are: 
- Objective: a goal, target, or quota to be achieved by a certain time
- Program: the strategy to be followed and major actions to be taken in order to achieve or exceed objectives
- Schedule: a plan showing when individuals or group activities or accomplishments will be started and/or completed
- Budget: planned expenditures required to achieve or exceed objectives
- Forecast: a projection of what will happen by a certain time
- Organization: design of the numbers and kinds of positions, along with corresponding duties and responsibilities, required to achieve or exceed objectives
- Policy: a general guide for decision methods for carrying out policy
- Procedures: a detailed method for carrying out a policy
- Standards: a level of individual or group performances defined as adequate or acceptable
AcqLinks and References:
-  Website: Wikipedia – Planning
-  Harold Kerzner (2005) “Project Management” Wiley & Sons
- Website: About.com – Strategic Planning Resources
- Planning Phase: Planning, Programming, Budget and Execution (PPBE) Process