Planning is the process of staging.
In Problemistics, the Planning process is concerned with staging (setting up and carrying out) Action(s).
Planning is the art and craft of Problem Acting.
The general function of Planning is to aim at Health as the actuation of appropriate condition and disposition.
The specific function is to arrange and accomplish Actions concerning a Problem, that is Problem Acting.
Planning is concerned with the selection of ways (modes) of utilization of limited resources (means) for the achievement of desired goals (ends).
This modes-means-ends dynamic is to be seen as a continuous monitored process performed in and through time and space.
A monitored process requires continuous flexible controls by feedback and feedforward.
Planning should be:
- comprehensive (having a global outlook)
- participatory (enhancing communication and choices)
- dynamic (flexible and continuously adaptable to change)
For analytical reasons the process of Planning is depicted as composed of three intermingled phases:
- Moulding (action elaborating)
- Managing (action effectuating)
- Monitoring (action evaluating)
The core of each phase and of the entire process is the setting up and carrying out of Action.
An Action is the practical formulation and actuation of a desired reality.
Actions are made of acts and make up activities.
Analysis of Definition
- Acts = basic units of behaviour
- Actions = a series of integrated acts
- Activities = a series of integrated actions
Behaviour means acts under observation.
Actions are characterized by a productive mix of means/modes/ends.
With reference to means, modes and ends, Actions have to comply with these requirements:
- consistency means/modes/ends (stress on qualitative aspects)
(e.g. correspondence: type of resources employed/type of ends achieved)
- compatibility means/modes/ends (stress on quantitative aspects)
(e.g. correspondence: amount of resources employed/level of ends achieved)
The result of an action is an outcome.
Outcomes can be:
- probable : most likely - least likely
- possible : most feasible - least feasible
- preferable : most desirable - least desirable
Intended outcomes are Goals.
In Problemistics, Actions are concerned with the disposal of the Problem, that is Problem Acting.
Problem Acting (^)
Problem Acting is the process of staging (setting up and carrying out) Action for the disposal of a Problem.
The function of Problem Acting is to implement a proposed Solution to a previously clarified Problem.
The first step towards staging action is Moulding.
Moulding is the phase of elaborating Action.
Moulding consists of three aspects:
- Future Anticipating (explore possibilities)
- Goal Formulating (select preferences)
- Decision Taking (operationalize choices)
Future Anticipating (^)
Future Anticipating (^)
Future Anticipating is the exploration of probabilities/possibilities (Forecasting) associated with the actuation of possibilities/preferabilities (Futurecasting).
Analysis of Definition
- Probabilities : what is likely to happen
- Possibilities : what could be made to happen
- Preferabilities : what is desirable should happen
Forecasting is analysis of past-present events for detecting present-future eventualities.
Forecasting is carried out by means of various techniques (see Toolbook), for example:
- Trend Extrapolation
- Scenario Writing
Futurecasting is reflection on past-present events for directing present-future Actions.
There are no specific techniques for Futurecasting other than:
- clear expression of a Proposed Future
- tenacious perseverance of a Willed Future
- Forecasting : exploratory (possible-probable)
- Futurecasting : normative (practicable-preferable)
For a further exploration of the topic see Toolbook : Anticipation.
Forecasting and Futurecasting assist in and lead to Goal Formulating.
Goal Formulating (^)
Goal Formulating (^)
Goal Formulating is the expression of Needs, Values, Norms as Goals to be aimed at.
The function of Goal Formulating is to present Goals as:
- Objectives for Managing (action effectuating)
- Targets for Monitoring (action evaluating)
Goals are the intended outcome of Decisions and Actions.
In Problem Dealing, Goals can be seen as Needs, Values, Norms expressed in operational form and leading to Decisions and Actions.
Decisions and Actions concern the:
- satisfaction of Needs
- affirmation of Values
- activation of Norms
Goals can be classified according to:
(stress on means)
(stress on ends)
A series of Goals can present the following inter-relations:
- contrary (opposition)
- rivalry (competition)
- neutrality (indifference)
- compatibility (possible association)
- synergy (favourable association)
Goal Formulating leads to Decision Taking.
Decision Taking (^)
Decision Taking (^)
Decision Taking is the process of making choices among alternative Means - Modes - Ends of Action.
The choices are the Decisions.
Decisions are choices about Means - Modes - Ends of Action concerning a Problem and the implementation of its Solution.
Decisions can be classified in relation to a Problem and its Solution according to:
|Nature of the Problem||repetitive/routine (problem) = programmed decision
novel/unstructured = nonprogrammed decision
|Type of Problem||ill-definable (problem) = heuristic decision
well-definable = algorithmic decision
|Time/Space of the Problem||long span - broad range = strategical decision
short span - narrow range = tactical decision
Decisions have certain requirements related to:
- Actors : decisions should be generally taken, implemented or accepted (freely and willingly) by the same subjects that are affected by them
- Information : decisions should be based on the mastery of the necessary data, facts and concepts
- Time-Space : decisions should be taken at and for the appropriate time and space
- Variety : the type and range of (possible) decisions should match the type and range of (possible) situations
Moulding : overview (^)
Moulding is the process of:
- Future Anticipating
- Goal Formulating
- Decision Taking
Various methods are employed during the process of Moulding.
The role of Moulding is to elaborate the Action that will be carried out during the following phase of Planning, that is to say Managing.
Managing is the actual process of setting up and carrying out Actions for implementing Decisions about Solutions.
Managing comprises the following aspects:
In Planning, Communicating is the exchange (sending-receiving) of Messages necessary for Managing.
The flow of Messages derives from and is concerned with permanent Surveying and Inventorying of Means, Modes and Ends of Action.
Surveying is inspecting/analysing the type and amount of resources (means) available in relation to chosen aims (ends) and identifying the most appropriate ways (modes) of performing Action.
Surveying leads to Inventorying.
Inventorying is listing what emerges from Surveying in order to provide actors with updated Information about Means, Modes and Ends of Action.
Surveying and Inventorying as aspects of Communicating are the stepping stones to Coordinating.
Coordinating is the appropriate allocation/utilization (in space and time) of Means and Modes of Action in relation to Ends.
Coordinating results in:
Budgeting is Coordinating, in physical terms, Modes - Means - Ends of Action.
The function of Budgeting is to put forward optimizing/satisficing ways (modes) of allocating resources (means) to objectives (ends).
Scheduling is Coordinating, in temporal/spatial terms, Means - Modes - Ends of Action in order that tasks are performed at/within a certain period of time, in strictly or loosely specified locations, in order to reach prefixed goals/objectives.
Budgeting and Scheduling as parts of Coordinating are the stepping stones to Cooperating.
Cooperating is the stage that, on the basis of Communicating and Coordinating, aims at linking in actual operative terms, Means - Modes - Ends of Action.
Cooperating results in:
Preparing is to provide and arrange all the preliminary conditions required for Performing.
The function of Preparing is to have people and tools ready for Action at the right place and at the right time.
Performing is carrying out operations concerning pre-arranged Means and Modes in view of reaching pre-fixed Ends of Action.
Managing : overview (^)
Managing is the process of:
for setting up and carrying out Action.
Managing requires a continuous evaluation of the Action itself in order to ascertain its effectiveness and efficiency.
For a further exploration of the topic see Toolbook : Actuation.
The evaluation of Managing (and also of the previous phase Moulding) is conducted through Monitoring.
Monitoring is the continuous evaluation of Action (during Moulding, Managing) in order to ascertain its effectiveness and efficiency.
Analysis of Definition
- Effectiveness = action appropriate in relation to ends (i.e. achieving the pre-fixed target)
- Efficiency = action appropriate in relation to means and modes (i.e. using the most suitable means in the most suitable modes)
Monitoring consists of the following aspects:
Recording is keeping accurate track of the transformations (operations, combinations) concerning the situation.
A basic support for recording, is a manual and electronic Log-Book with related devices.
Rating is to assess Action in relation to results achieved (ends), resources utilized (means), methods employed (modes).
An important aspect of rating is assessing the long-lasting effects of Action in presence of Variety (in and of situations).
Variety is the type and level of complexity/simplicity of a situation.
Note on Requisite Variety
Situations undergo continuous transformations in the sense of simplification or complication. In general:
- complexity demands variety attenuation (e.g. standardization)
- simplicity allows for variety amplification (e.g. personalization)
Each situation asks for a type and level of Requisite Variety, that is for the right (required, appropriate) balance between simplicity and complexity.
A balance is struck when the variety of possible/actual situations is matched by versatility of possible/actual operations.
Versatility is capability and flexibility of Action in response to Variety in/of situations.
All situations undergo a process of continuous transformation that requires continuous Reviewing
A regulative intervention (as part of Reviewing) can be performed only if the variety in situations is matched by versatility (capability and flexibility) in responding to situations.
Reviewing is intervention in the situation, with respect to the results of the Rating stage.
The possible outcomes of reviewing, as far as Action is concerned, can lead to:
- Renewing (extend action in time/space)
- Revising (modify/update action)
- Revoking (cancel/annul action)
The function of Reviewing is to provide checks for the effectiveness and the efficiency of the Action.
These checks are reflected into action through a dynamic of Feedback and Feedforward.
- Feedback = re-action from unwanted changes in the situation
- Feedforward = action for wanted changes in the situation
A Feedback is an adjustment to a situation in response to Information about its actual state and in relation to Decisions about its preferred state.
The adjustment (Action) becomes Information for new Decisions in a never ending process of adjustment.
Feedbacks can be classified into two categories:
A positive feedback reinforces the change in the direction taken until the preferred state is reached
(function : amplification, strengthening)
A negative feedback reverses the direction of the change until the preferred state is regained
(function : restriction, correction)
A Feedforward (Futurecasting) is a pre-adjustment to a situation (through preventive Action) in response to Forecasting about its probable future state and in relation to Decisions about its preferred future state.
Monitoring : overview (^)
Monitoring is the process of :
means, modes, ends of Action.
Monitoring is a continuous process that never comes to a conclusion because of continuous changes in situations.
Monitoring alerts us to when new Action has to be undertaken, putting again into motion the never ending process of Planning.
Planning : summing up (^)
Planning is Problem Acting, that is intervention in a Problem through implementation of its Solution by Action.
During the process of Planning the demand may arise for:
- a better definition/total redefinition of the Problem or
- a better formulation/total reformulation of the Solution
because new situations (data), combinations (ideas), operations (opportunities) have emerged (e.g. new problems, new solutions).
This leads back to Problem Finding (Research) or to Problem Solving (Design) and so to the resumption/continuation of the full dynamic process of Problemistics (Problem Dealing).
Problemistics : summing up (^)
Problemistics (Problem Dealing ) is a permanent life process that confronts every human being in the various Spheres of life experience and in the course of which human beings and communities produce and develop a dynamic condition of Well-Being.