If you're looking to get into partial mash or all grain brewing, you'll obviously have to mash... and if you're thinking about taking baby steps from a partial mash to all grain, just skip the PM and go right into AG. You'll be glad you did
Mashing is easy, don't be intimidated! I batch sparge and do single infusion mashes and I have been making stellar beers from my first AG in February till now. I guess I would suggest you don't over analyze anything and just keep it simple.
I guess the most important thing is to be able to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the mash, which is very easy with the help of a simple picnic cooler. The rest will really come in time and you'll develop your own methods, but in the mean time, may I suggest you read these two sites:
Cheap, easy and efficient "guides" to AG brewing. Look into it, you'll be glad you did!