By Eric Jenett – Consultant
Eric was one of the original PMPs and wrote this in 1994.
It’s still applicable today.
What makes a project scheduler successful? Ask any experienced Project Manager, and you’re likely to hear many of these:
- Dedication to project goals and priorities – not separate “scheduling” agendas.
- Thorough knowledge of scheduling techniques and ability to make a scheduling system – manual or computer-based – sit up and sing.
- Strong, constant recognition that any scheduling effort is not an end in itself. It’s a means to an end.
- Understanding of changes, major as well as subtle, that affect the project. Each change can impact resources required, project timeline, and the management role. The bottom line: The project manager has to plan, schedule, monitor, evaluate, and control the project. A great schedule keeps the “game plan” up to date.
- A focus on generating value in the project manager process. Remember, project managers view their roles as “value-add” experts.
- Constant recognition that most project participants act fundamentally like investors and treat scheduling as only one of the potential investments for their “portfolio of successful project (role) execution strategies.” Consequently, most stakeholders assess scheduling based on its “p/e (price to earnings) ratio.”
- Production of project intelligence not previously evident to the project’s participants. Scheduling generates real benefit (value added) only when it does more than regurgitate data obtained by the scheduler from others. Making a report pretty doesn’t add value. Project intelligence does.
- Sense of balance that results in consistently applying the “right” technique at the “right” level of detail to maximize value.
- Enthusiasm for the work of scheduling, a drive to perform and complete, and an ability to “look outside the box”.
- A knack for communicating with project players to identify their plans, contingencies, concerns, and perceived obstacles to progress. It’s also critical to find out needed conditions/prerequisites for performing the work efficiently and effectively.
You’ll see these 10 traits at work in great project scheduling. And, you’ll see caution. Successful project schedulers discern the “grey” areas in project management. “It’s on time.” “Yeah, that’s done.” Do you always believe everything a project stakeholder tells you?