How does your organization assign roles and responsibilities?
Being an Independent consultant gives me opportunity to taste many different flavors. I have seen organizations where resources are considered just bodies and they consider almost everyone can do anything and in others I have seen where proper weight is given to resources for some specific knowledge and care is taken not assign the SME's (subject matter expert) 100% in a single project. Usually there are not too many SME's in a single organization and many projects run concurrently. Having the right resources for the tasks is very important for any project success.
In your organization, how much time and effort is spent up-front planning a project? Why or why not? How can up-front planning be encouraged?
It usually depends upon the kind of projects. Not much time is devoted to upfront planning for a project with too many unknowns variables since if we do not know we cannot plan. But not many projects are like that.
What documents are used in your organization to define project goals and scope?
For scope & goals definitions some of the documents which are depending upon where I have worked as a consultant are Project Requirements Documents or Business Blueprint documents or Project Definition documents or Vision Document - different names but almost the same content.
How can we encourage planning?
getting buy-in from management is key. But I really think to encourage planning by influencing management takes preparation and knowing the facts of the issue. Both the facts that you are supporting and those that management (or anyone with whom you are working with or trying to influence) will have. Knowing the other side's situation is important