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Standardising Quality in Project Scheduling

"90% of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get things done."
Peter Drucker

Keywords: Scheduling, Planning, Quality.

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Standardising Quality in Project Scheduling  [P071]

Until recently scheduling was a ‘black art’ with only subjective opinions as to what constituted a ‘good schedule’; and any debate over schedule quality tended to be confused with arguments over personal preferences in tools and/or networking techniques.  The publication by PMI of its Practice Standard for Schedulingin May 2007 goes a long way towards resolving many of these issues.  The Standard development team drew on expertise from around the world to deliver an authoritative document that defines ‘good scheduling practice’.

The definition of ‘good practice’ as set out in the Standard is based on the ‘Time Management’ processes from the PMBOK® Guide 3rd Edition. Chapter 2 links the Practice Standard directly into the PMBOK processes. This starting point is expanded in Chapter 3 to offer guidance on ‘generally accepted good practices’ for the development of an effective schedule for a project; including:
•    The purpose of the schedule model
•    Designing the schedule model and
•    Elements of developing a good schedule.

The Standard is not a text book on scheduling but does lay out the principles that underpin the development and maintenance of an effective project schedule.
This paper provides a review of the Practice Standard, its use as a conformance measurement tool.

Also, until recently, certifications in scheduling were focused exclusively on senior schedulers and had very little effect on the profession of scheduling.  Only recently have these factors started to change - new ideas and paradigms are emerging to change the way scheduling and project ‘controls’ operate. Key publications include:
•    CIOB’s Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects published January 2011
•    Faster Construction Projects with CPM Scheduling by: Murray B.Woolf, Published, McGraw-Hill .
•    The PMI Practice Standard for Scheduling  (2nd Edition due Q3 2011)
•    Existing certifications from AACE and PMI: AACE PSP™ and PMI-SP
•    New certifications from Planning Planet and CIOB

The future of project management is predicted to be one that focuses on the ‘soft skills’ including; Communications, Motivation and leadership . Uncertainty will be recognised as normal and skills for managing uncertainty will become essential for successful project managers. Consequently, the revised focus on ‘using’ the schedule should concentrate on supporting the PM Team with useful information and emphasise:
•    Collaboration & Agreement
•    Coordination and timely information
•    The ability to adapt to changing circumstances quickly

In this scenario, scheduling should be seen as a modelling process that helps communicate and coordinate ideas about what might happen in the future. This is achieved by providing timely and useful information, NOT masses of irrelevant data weeks after the event. This is the essence of effective Time Management and the basis for The Guide and the new CIOB credentials, and hopefully the new Planning Planet PPAS credentaisl as well. Mosaic's training courses focused on effective scheduling and the credentials are detailed on our Planning Home Page

Author: Patrick Weaver

Presented at:
Successful Project Management
Energy, Power and Utilities Industry
Corus Hotel, Kuala Lumpur - Sept. 2010

For updated scheduling credential information, see: Should your schedulers be certified?

Download paper

Download the 2010 conference paper
Download the 2010 conference presentation
Download the original 2007 Deltek presentation.

Originally Presented at:
See also:
-  Should you be certified for using Primavera professionally? [P088 - 2008]
-  Professionalising Planning and Scheduling
 [P088 - 2010]
  • Visit our [ Books Page ] to obtain a copy of the Practice Standard and The Guide

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