Availability and use of a coherent planning system
The availability and utilization of a systematic process for planning.
Planning systems include systematic procedures for short-, medium-, and long-term plans. Their objective is to ensure support for and achievement of the organization’s mission, goals, and strategies. A coherent planning system supports the efficient and effective development, implementation, and monitoring of plans.
This indicator measures both the availability and utilization of six key elements during the last planning cycle, as follows:
|Templates/formats for all planners to follow||Templates used for most recent plan|
|Schedules for developing, monitoring, and updating the plan||Schedules followed reasonably well for most recent plan|
|Manuals describing the planning process||Manuals referred to during preparation of most recent plan|
|A mechanism to assure that activities in the plan are linked with budgets||Activities in most recent plan are budgeted|
|A process for monitoring progress||Systematic monitoring performed by managers for most recent plan|
|A system for generating progress reports||Progress reports produced on regular basis for most recent plan|
Evaluators can rank an organization on a 12-point scale, calculated by assigning one point for “available” and one point for “utilized” to each of the six items in the table presented here.
Evidence of a documented planning and budgeting process; evidence of existing strategic and operational plans; evidence of monitoring of plans and schedules.
Organizational documents; interviews with key staff members.
Institutions that perform effective strategic planning can better understand and respond to changes in conditions affecting the organization, and they can more effectively apply available resources to client needs and generate demand for services (USAID, 1999). Managers should refer to such plans when they make management decisions and should monitor and adjust plans continuously to adapt to changing internal and external conditions. Hence, a coherent planning system requires not only the products (plans), but also the process (implementation) grounded in the strategic and budgetary realities of the organization.
Through observing organizational/programmatic documents and through interviewing key informants, an evaluator can consider whether key elements of a planning system exist and whether they have been used during the last planning cycle.
Like many of the management indicators, one limitation of this indicator is that it is not operationally precise. It also does not assess the quality and usefulness of the plans that are actually produced by the planning system. However, the next indicator, Number/proportion of organization/program units systematically using information to plan and monitor performance, addresses this issue.
USAID. 1999. Health and Family Planning Indicators: Measuring Sustainability Volume II. Africa Bureau,
Office of Sustainable Development (AFR/SD). Washington D.C.: USAID.