construction scheduler

“Damned Scheduler!”

This phrase is uttered far too frequently across this country as Project Managers, near the end of their projects, discover they will not complete on time. In many instances the scheduler/schedule is the readily available scapegoat for a multitude of ills associated with a project. More frequently the schedule is not to blame.

When poor planning and scheduling are a valid weakness in project execution the author has found the following conditions to be largely responsible:

  • Due diligence was done in preparation of the project plan and a useful schedule was produced, but it was never progressed and disregarded shortly after project start.
  • The planning process was truncated by cloning a schedule from a previous, similar project and adopted for the current project with little modification. The schedule is progressed, but so poorly represents the scope that it is largely ignored as a management tool.
  • The schedule is hacked together as the project is executed. The schedule is over constrained because the boss does not like to see the dates change. No baseline is ever set because the boss insists “You can’t really predict when you will finish.”

The facts are that few firms comprehend the total Planning, Scheduling and Progressing system. Even in large firms you will find they are good at two of three and poor at one of the key processes of the system. Large firms that have learned to manage major capital projects primarily through experience, without formal training, often do not understand there is a difference between planning and scheduling. Just as often excellent plans will be developed with accompanying schedules. Once mobilization begins the plans are abandoned and not revisited until its time to file a claim for delay or to wiggle out of liquidated damages.