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HELP & ADVICE NEEDED FROM THE PLANNING GURU’S

20 replies [Last post]
James Middleton
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Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 6
Hi all, I need a bit educational advice.

I’m 27, I have been project planning for 3 years, sort of fell into it really as I come from a resource scheduling background (water industry incharge of team of surveyors). I do not have a degree - I left college at 18 with GNVQ Buisness then went into the world of work.
I now work in the Oil & Gas sector as a junior planner, been on the Primavera planning courses, use the software but I know THAT does not make me a planner. I need to learn an engineering course or something...

Can you please advise which is the best course for me to do... if i need to start from the bottom and work up so be it..

Much Appreciated

James

Replies

Carmen Arape
User offline. Last seen 4 years 22 weeks ago. Offline
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Posts: 292
Hi Mike,

Your Dutch is better than mine. Indeed, is alstublieft.

What has “Esoteric” to do here.

May be, the planning Gurus have developed more esoteric or non-scholarly knowledge .

Think of something else quick: ????

Regards,

Mike Testro
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Joined: 14 Dec 2005
Posts: 4413
Hi Carmen

Did you mean to write alstublieft?

No English equivalent - same as that the German language has no word for "Fluffy".

This could be the start of a whole new topic - bring it on.

What is Spnnish for "Esoteric".

I have just checked - it is esotérico

Quick memo to self - think of something esle quick.

Best regards

Mike Testro

sorry James - your thread has been hijacked.
Carmen Arape
User offline. Last seen 4 years 22 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 26 Jun 2004
Posts: 292

James,

On behalf of planning no Guru’s, you’re welcome, altublieft

Success
James Middleton
User offline. Last seen 12 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 6
Guys

Thanks for your advice..

If I get any queries with planning issues look out for my posts ! as I am sure there will be a few :)
Brad Lord
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but carmen it is upto james how he does it
Carmen Arape
User offline. Last seen 4 years 22 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 26 Jun 2004
Posts: 292
Gary,

I believe that James got the advice he was asking for.

It is waste of time to mention “its up to James how he does it”.


Ciao

Gary Whitehead
User offline. Last seen 2 years 33 weeks ago. Offline
Brad: That was my point.

Carmen: When i studied mech eng at uni (about 10 years ago), I spent most of my time learning how to calculate transfer functions, fluid dynamics, bending moments, coefficients of friction, pump curves, stress failure modes, etc. Some has proved useful in planning, but most not. As I said before, a technical degree is useful, but not essential.

On site, you can learn about concrete curing, what plant you need to dig up an embankement, what’s involved in monitoring boreholes, how long it takes to set up a work camp, how rain affects trenching works, how to deal with a threatened Great Crested Newt habitat, etc
Most of what you learn will be useful in planning

You make a good point though that going to university helps you become a well-rounded individual capable of independant thinking.

Still, planning is the art of accurately reflecting what will happen on site. Spending time seeing what does happen on site seems quite essential to this.
Regards,

G
Brad Lord
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gary


you learn the constrction. commissioning process from your construction manager or site manager, you dont need to go to university for that, you learn as you go along anyway bored of this thread, its upto james how he does it

regards

Carmen Arape
User offline. Last seen 4 years 22 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 26 Jun 2004
Posts: 292
Gary, Gary,

What am I reading ?? Your suggestion :” you will learn a lot more about the technical processes involved in projects by spending 4 years on site than 4 years at university.”

This business is not running like 10 years ago, much less 30 years. The technology has changed completely the way of doing things.

I do not need to go to site to have an idea how does the plant is going to be. The model at Home Office is giving me all the details I need.

Project managers can control site execution sitting in Paris or London. Tele conference, messengers and any connection you would like to mention will put you online with site.

Let me add some words about the purpose of universities:

We produce thinking and educated people - people who think for themselves and who understand ......


Gary Whitehead
User offline. Last seen 2 years 33 weeks ago. Offline
Prince2 will help you with project management processes, but not the technical design/construct/commissioning processes.

For that you would need an engineering course

If you wanted to go for a full degree, entry level requirements in the UK are typically A-levels in maths & a science, or whatever the equivalent is these days in GNVQs or whatever.
Many universities will also offer a 1 year foundation course for those wthout the maths & science background, which will get you onto the full engineering degree course.

I would suggest though that you will learn a lot more about the technical processes involved in projects by spending 4 years on site than 4 years at university. I found my mechanical engineering degree to be, maybe 70% academic and 30% practical. On site, you will get 100% practical.
Brad Lord
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I would have thought if you really want an engineering qual
then your local college/uni should have courses re Btec or equivalent

Your senior planners are quite right, with time comes experience and understanding

regards

brad
Scott Cruickshank
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Hi James,

I’m in exactly the same boat. I’m from a finance background and have ended up in the world of planning. Where are you based? I’m in Aberdeen and there is a planning course offered by a local training company, but they need more people than myself to run the course. Would you be interested in finding out more? By the way I have no relation to this company whatsoever but would like to attend the course.
On another note I used to work with a Planner who was an Engineer for a long time before hand. It made no difference to how good a planner he was. He was still useless and I learned nothing from him.
James Middleton
User offline. Last seen 12 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 6
OK,
Experience is what the Snr Planners have told me here, and sitting down and getting info out of people...

To me though, (as I like to do a good job).. I would like to fully understand the scope of work and their process.

If I was to do a course in engineering - where do I need to start?.. as I only left college with Business qualifications, So I need to start at the beginning...??
which would be ???????????

Or there is the other route of PRINCE2...but will i be in the same boat of not knowing the full scope and process?..
Brad Lord
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meant to say good luck (must be hungry!!)
Brad Lord
User offline. Last seen 7 years 33 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 27 May 2003
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Carmen

that is a fair comment but, rail, telecomms, IT, civils, and others, not necessary any planner needs to be able to understand what the scope of work is (I have worked with so called planners who have a degree and they end up setting up a plan only for the PM and associated engineers to rip it apart) anyway you he will find his way just as I did, have been doing if for 20yrs, only advice ask questions spend time with engineering people and food luck

regards

brad
Carmen Arape
User offline. Last seen 4 years 22 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 26 Jun 2004
Posts: 292
James,

Paying attention to your membership date (member since May 2009) , I dare to say that your are new in this forum.

There are many threads regarding your inquiry. If you have time, read the following category:

-Planning & Project controls accreditation and treads:
o Accreditation based on experience
o Planners – Accredit yourselves, among others

Regarding the comments you got here, I would like to add a different point of view:

BRAD wrote: having an engineering does not help you to become a better planner.

In my opinion: my Engineering degree helps me a LOT to become a good planner. Working in fields such as Oil, gas, mining, chemicals, my degree has allowed me to switch easily from one field to another. My degree allows me to discuss technical issues with all discipline leads.

Gary wrote: Some clients insist (rightly or wrongly) on a technical degree

In my opinion: A client with up-to-date management background will demand rightly a technical degree for planners.

For those planners without technical degree, follow the advice given in this forum. For instance;

Gary’s advice:

A.- if your are working for a more senior planner, see if he/she is happy to mentor you.

B.- Spend some time with the procurement & logistics guys. NOT ONLY procurement, all disciplines

HTH (hope this helps)

Gary Whitehead
User offline. Last seen 2 years 33 weeks ago. Offline
Hi James,

An engineering background is definitely helpful in planning, though not essential. Some clients insist (rightly or wrongly) on a technical degree for planners working on their projects, so a mech eng or civ eng degree is a way to go.

Ultimately though the best training is to be found out on site. It sounds like you have a junior planning role already -are you office or site based?
If office-based, Grab every chance to get out on site possible, spend as much time as possible with the guys actually doing the construction. make sure you attend all the site progress meetings and pay attention to what gets discussed (if they talk about the awful weather slowing them down, that should be a good hint to you that a planner needs to take account of likely weather conditions, etc). if your are working for a more senior planner, see if he is happy to mentor you. Spend some time with the procurement & logistics guys & understand the constraints they are under

I could go on, but you get the idea -get on site, be nosey & learn as much as you can, get back to the office & apply it to your next programme.

Good luck! It’s a great profession.
Brad Lord
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Joined: 27 May 2003
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CPA is simple enough all activities need a successor and predecessor to create a critical path (the red line thru your schedule)

EVA again is a bit more of an open book, have alook in primavea help and will teach you the basics of BCWS, BCWP and ACWP, look on WIKI on planning planet, or google any subject and will get a host of website, papers etc

James Middleton
User offline. Last seen 12 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 6
Thanks Brad,

I need to learn more about CPA & EVA - Do you know any good books/courses that will help a Junior planner?

S-Curves & Histo’s I ok with - create in excel from resource load

Much Appreciated
Brad Lord
User offline. Last seen 7 years 33 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 27 May 2003
Posts: 256
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James

You are doing the correct thing already, I have one o level been planning for nearly 20 yrs, having an engineering qual does not help you to become a better planner, for example if you switched over to say IT as a planner your engineering qual would be pointless, anyway may wish to learn the fundementals ie Critical Path Analysis, Cost and Resource Loading plans to be able to create s-curves etc.

There is a lot to learn

good luck