A student's guide to planning

A student’s guide to planning
In food technology you will often need to make plans, for example when carrying out
research. This may help you find out more about the task, context, user or market that you
are designing for. It is a good idea to make a plan of action for your research, so that it is
done in a well thought out and systematic way.
It also gives you a plan to evaluate against to make sure that you are keeping your original
purpose in mind and keeping on track with it.
Use the following steps for a systematic approach
Decide on your purpose. Write a statement that explains what you are setting out to do
or find out.
What information do you need to gather? Produce a list of things to find out or
questions that need to be answered.
Which of these things do you already know? Underline, circle or highlight them.
Look at those remaining. Note down what you still need to find out, the source of
information and the research method you will use. Remember to use primary as well as
secondary sources.
Copy or draw up a table, like the one below, as a record of your research activity.
The final column of the table prompts you to think about what you need to know.
Once you have decided what research you need you must decide how you will go about it
- a plan of action. If you are working in a team you will also need to plan who will do
what. Follow your research plan, making any necessary changes as you go along.
What I need to
know/find out
Source of
Research method
How I will use
the research/
How it will help
me with the
original task
Planning for production
On other occasions you may be planning for production. There are a number of
ways to set out your plans. Some of these are used in business and industry
during design, development or manufacture. They are used because things there
are done on a large scale and so need to be precision planned. Planning involves
breaking down the whole process into stages, and putting the stages in a logical
order or sequence. Examples are given on the next page:
 FoodForum, 2004.
Flow charts are sequence diagrams that you use to plan out the order in which things
happens. They help you to think through the steps or stages in a logical way.
Quality assurance during
product development
Customer needs are identified
Back to the drawing board
Is it feasible?
Product specification is drawn up
[Type the process in this
and trialling of
Further development,
modification and
Conforms to specification?
 FoodForum, 2004.
Story boards are used in a similar way to flow-charts, but use pictures to show the stages
and steps involved.
Visual flow chart
bread production
in a craft bakery
Dough is kneaded & shaped
Ingredients are mixed
Dough is divided into pieces
Dough proving
Baked bread is cooled
Gantt charts are a way of planning that takes account of time. This is particularly useful
when more than one thing is happening at once. It helps you to plan and manage your time.
The following example of a Gantt chart shows the sequencing of a product development
Stage in the
Market research
Checking feasibility
Analysis of research
Ideas generation
Testing materials
Modelling ideas
Marketing planning
Trial run
Production planning
Promotional materials
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Using ICT - planning may be carried out more quickly and effectively by using a computer:
clicking on AutoShapes on the menu bar in Word will provide you with the symbols
needed for producing flow charts
spreadsheets or tables in Word can be used to produce a Gantt chart
images and photos can be imported to produce a story board
 FoodForum, 2004.