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Common Interview questions for Planning Engineer:

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Haresh Jayanth
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Hi guys,

Given below are list of interview questions faced by Planning Engineer , other than their personal and Experience. if anyone like to add more u are welcome pls .............

Common Interview questions for Planning Engineer:


1. What is total float?
2. What are the difference between free float and total float?
3. What is a constraint?
4. What are the difference between MS Project and Primavera?
5. How to load cost & resource in a program?
6. What is WBS?
7. What is a milestone? What are the types of milestone?
8. What are the difference between flag and milestone activity?
9. What is a critical activity?
10. What is resource allocation and leveling?
11. What is a Baseline Program?
12. What are BSWS, BSWP, and ACWP?
13. What are SV and CV?
14. What is a Budget and how do you compare budget against Actual cost?
15. What is an S – Curve?
16. What is the difference between P3.1, P3E, and P5 etc.
17. What is an open end activity?
18. How often you update your program?

Haresh

Replies

Thank you planners, I have gained immensely from this post and the responses. It really outline what is expected of a planner from both theoretical and hands on  pespectives in a job interview.

 

 

 

Akeem

Dear Mr. Devaux

In an interview the interviewer asked me about the critical path, I explained a little about it but started about DRAG I thought I had quite good information of it (and in fact I do have) but when he asked me to give him a demo, I got nervous and couldn’t make a proper diagram. The same happened with his question about Progress Override and Retained Logic that know well but couldn’t make demo. The result was a disqualification Ha ha ha. All want to share that is to have more and more practice to demonstrate all we know. And the best way to do this is to grab a friend and practice it on him and don’t let him/her until you finish, that’s what I do.

Cheers, Tanveer

nouman zam
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Yeah nobody knows about these question how can everyone should know only related people knows these question my brother:) These are soo important question if you just search on internet these question you will know how much you get in few mins. For me these are

Carumbaiah Kolli...
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Retianed logic and Progress override are used to calculate progress when there is Out of sequence progress. The options are available in Primavera. MSP uses progress override by default.

http://www.warnercon.com/articles/Article%209%20-%20Handling%20Out-of-Sequence%20Progress.pdf

The above link has a small write up on the topic.

hua 052011
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If you want to get more materials that related to this topic, you can visit:

http://www.humanresources.hrvinet.com/free-sample-person-specifications/

 

 

Best regards.

Brandon Atkins
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I had a phone interview where many of these questions were asked of me at a rapid pace.  While I didn't have trouble answering, after 20-30 minutes of this I stopped the interviewer and explained that the book knowledge of CPM scheduling and training on the appropriate software can be learned by anyone, the toughest part of planning is generating buy-in amongst the stakeholders that the schedule you create is actually a valid model of the work and giving insight to make good project management decisions.  This stopped the technical questions and I was offered the job 2 days later after just this phone interview.

Vijay Anbumani
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Hi Karim,

            Nobody knows about those question.

regards,

J. Vijay

hua 052011
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Hi

 

I read some opinions in this topic. I do not agree above ideal. We can find out some articles at about.com by using Google search.

hua 052011
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Hi

 

You can find this info by using search box in the top of website with some keywords related before posting questions.

Syed Mustafa Nadeem
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Dear all ,

               Iam Nadeem I hve total 3 yrs experience as a Civil Engineer i hve decided to concentrate my future in planning , can anyone suggest me as hw 2 proceed to become a successful Planning Engineer. Pl if anyone of u folks have  openings  in your organisation or in uae or saudi ,kindly revert back ur early reply is highly appreciated.

Regards,

Nadeem.

nadeemsd_54@yahoo.co.in

Stephen Devaux
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"Hello Stephen,
I side with your posts, ideas and all that you stand for
What takes you too long to join the forum.
Please keep it up. Also the links are great stuff."

Charlie, thank you so much for your kind words! Actually, I first started posting to the forum about 3 years ago -- but then had some family and health issues that made me disappear for a while. Now I’m back (and healthy, thank you!).

But let me add that, if I have contributed something to the forum, Planning Planet has also contributed a great deal to me! This is IMO the most sophisticated project management forum on the Internet, in terms of the knowledge and experience of the posters!

BTW, the editor of Projects@Work has informed me that my articles there have been getting a huge number of hits. I attribute that in no small part to readers from PP. And my offer stands -- I’d be delighted to discuss any of the issues raised by those articles either here or on the Projects@Work site.

BTW, the upcoming article (due on-line Nov 30th) has a working title of "The Whips and Scorns of Time" (the editor sometimes changes titles) and will explore activity DRAG, a subject that I think should be of interest to PP readers interested in Delay Analysis. The following article will explore measuring the cost of constraint delays, such as bottlenecked resources.

(For those who don’t want to have to search back, you can find the series of articles at:

http://www.projectsatwork.com/departments/methods-means/
Charleston-Joseph...
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Hello Stephen,

I side with your posts, ideas and all that you stand for

What takes you too long to join the forum.

Please keep it up. Also the links are great stuff.


Regards,


Charlie
Stephen Devaux
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There may be different levels of interview -- I can see asking some relatively simple technical questions simply to weed through a pool of 20 or more applicants and get the number of candidates down to 3 or 4. Then a hiring manager should want to question the finalists closely about specific subject matters, suitability to a culture, etc.

I’d want experience in specific applications and subject matter (nuclear outages vs. stadium construction, for example) to be a final determinant. But I wouldn’t want to have as a finalist any candidate that couldn’t interpret/optimize a schedule or, in some applications, compute a cost ETC from a budget and a CPI.

That "theoretical" knowledge (as distinct from application subject matter knowledge) is really the simple stuff, just an intimacy with the available techniques and tools. I strongly believe that the theoretical stuff is not nearly enough for a senior planning position -- but NOT having that knowledge would, for me, disqualify a candidate, if I were looking for someone with experience. It’s pretty simple, but if a planner doesn’t know how to attack the work of optimizing a slipping schedule, he or she can cost you millions! And in many, many applications (though by no means all!), ignoramus planners are the standard!
Being planning for 30 odd years. Been asked a huge range of questions - from the technical as listed below to those typical human resource questions right up to "Do I like fish?", "Am I a committed Christian?" and "Do I always wear black socks?"

Go figure...
Karim Mounir
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Hello Clive & Umerfarook,

The vacation offered during that interview was a normal position (Senior Planner) in an international construction company.

Regards.
Umerfarook Deshmukh
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Clive

I have also faced same kind of questions during my Interview around 3 years back and to be frank I was not prepared for such questions in an interview.

But fortunately I am slected and I have accepted offer to work with that organization.

But in a way ur correct that to be a good planner u should have good analysing skill rather than only software skill. Becoz even if u know in depth about software usage u will not perfom to the merit if u dont have planning logic. Planning to me is thinking before doing. And if u think in right direction than the doing or implementing it becomes easy.

I dnt know whether u agree with me or not but thats my Logic.

Anyway Lara managed to score double hundred against pakistan. WHAT A PLAYER HE IS !!!!!!!!!!

Regards

Umerfarook Deshmukh
Clive Randall
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I find that staggering
Were you being employed as the planning manager of a major corporation???
Karim Mounir
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Hi Clive,

During an interview, i’ve been asked these questions:

- What is the difference between Retained Logic & Override Logic?

- What is the difference between Continuous & Interruptible scheduling?

- What is the no. of activities that u monitor & how do u make the update?

- How do u measure & compare the progress?

- Earned Value Terms (very detailed).

Regards.
Clive Randall
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Are you saying you have really been asked some of these highly technical questions?
Karim Mounir
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Hi Clive,

I really wished that some interviewers that held some interviews with me were having the same logic as u described.

Moreover the point of this post is to give an overall view for some of the questions that have been already asked during an interview.

Regards.
Clive Randall
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Sorry
But is this an interview or an exam
Are you employing a graduate or an old hand.
The questions appear in a number of cases to be more about knowing the software than planning.
Where are the basics ie how long does it take to do x or y
I have held many many interviews and have never asked the majority of these questions. I like to see a candidate as somebody who has a basic grounding in thinking logically, an ability to communicate and good common sense.
I will always ask why do you want to be a planner, why do you want to work in this industry. If the person cannot amswer straight away with passion I will not ask him what is the difference between microsoft project and Primavera.
Just a thought.
Karim Mounir
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Hi,

What is wrong with the keyboard Stephen "CAPS LOCK" ???

#19:
checkout this site:
http://www.pmicos.org/topics/aug2003.asp

#20:
abstracted from a previous post in P3 e/c forum:
" I have looked everywhere (including in the Help file and the manual) for the P3 equivalent of the Continuous / Interruptible Activity setting when computing the CPM. To my knowledge, P3e seems to always use the "Continuous" setting whenever computing the CPM and you have a pair of unbalanced Start-To-Start and Finish-To-Finish relationships between two activities.

P3 would give you the option of stretching the duration of the successor to meet both constraints. This is called, "Interruptible." Does anyone out there know any more about this? Without equal settings, the same schedule may show different dates on different software platforms".

#22:
a. You can use S-curves to compare actual vs. planned units (eg. to compare resources assignment).
b. You can use Earned Value terms.
c. You can use Variance in days (with respect to the float
) between start/finish dates of the activities.

Regards.
Tahir Naseem PMP,...
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Dear All
It is really a very good interview tips at the senior/lead planner level. It is true as some of our friend explain that it is bit hard for a fresh graduate or even a planner with 4-5 year of experience, except a very genius.
Here the some answer that Mr Stephen did not reply in detail or may be I could not got the point.
4. What are the difference between MS Project and Primavera?
I will reply that the cost & resource management is much better in P3 rather then MS project where as MS project can produced more makeup(good fonts/color/tabbing and etc) reports then P3 for presentation.

8. What are the difference between flag and milestone activity?
Mile stone & flags both are events rather then activities. Some client likes to use flags rather than mile stone due the following differences.
1- With the use of flags the logic of main event can be easily tracked as these can not be created without predecessor as stand alone allocating the constraint. Where as mile stone can.
2- Flags can not update manually as P3 automatically update the status where as milestone can be update manually.
3- Flags can not be constraint only driven by predecessor where as milestone can.

17. What is an open end activity?
The open end activity is the activity that does not have any successor. Normally open end activity is not accepted willingly in schedule because the total float will be calculate from the end of the project and these entire activities late dates gather at the end of the project and can not be prepare a logical late start plan.

19. What is the difference between Retained Logic & Override Logic?
I will really appreciate please some one answer these for the sake of others knowledge


20. What is the difference between Continuous & Interruptible scheduling?
Same as above

22. How do u measure & compare the progress?
I measured the Progress in term of EV (Earned values) such as EMH (Earned man-hours) which is equivalent to the progress achieved by the define progress steps for each activity multiply with SMH (Standard man-hours)
EMH can be calculated as
EMH= SMH * %age of activity as describe above.
Comparison can be done in various different ways, tabular and graphically after getting the planned values from the base line program.

24. When updating a plan, what key people and/or systems would you expect to need information from? What, if any, analysis of the updated programme would you perform? Who would you distribute your work to?

Normally all good companies have the monitoring system including the progress break down steps agreed between all stack holders of the project to update the plan. But if you don’t have any kind of these program then I will always contact with the concern activity / package supervisor and collect the information on a well define format.

In short the minimum people require for the updating of progress.
1- Job supervisor
2- Quality control ( for the acceptance of job until this you are unable to finish 100% a single)
After performing any kind of analysis the distribution should be as follow minimum
Project Manager
Construction Managers (Concern discipline for action and other for information)
Job supervisor
Department heads in co-operate office
QA/QC and safety for info.

These will be my answer addition to Mr. stephen, it is not guarantee that interviewer will agree with your opinion and approach towards planning.
Stephen Devaux
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Karim wrote:

"What is wrong with the keyboard Stephen "CAPS LOCK" ???"

Sorry, Karim and others. I thought that by using all caps I’d make the answers distinct from the questions. It was only after Karim’s comment that I actually tried reading it, and discovered how hard it was! And by then, Lara was in full flow in the Test match against Pakistan -- I couldn’t very well interrupt that sublime innings in order to re-key the post, could I?

And by stumps, it was too late to edit the original post. So here is my re-typed post. Moderators, if you want to edit out the former post, please feel free. . .

Umerfarook Deshmukh wrote:

"I would appreciate if someone post the replies for the questions which I have consolidated.I have included all questions which were posted by you."

Actually, Umerfarook, you left out my question about activity DRAG, which in the Total Project Control methodology is defined as the amount of time a critical path activity is adding to the project duration, or, alternatively, the amount by which the end of the project would be pulled in by reducing an activity’s duration to zero. It is a metric which is more important than total float because, whereas float is always OFF the critical path, DRAG is always on it. And DRAG has the corollary of DRAG Cost which is the amount by which the "project profit" is reduced due to the extra time the activity adds to the project duration. For further info on DRAG, check out:

http://www.chiefprojectofficer.com/article/135

and

http://www.projectsatwork.com/departments/methods-means/

or

http://www.amazon.com/Total-Project-Control-Integrated-Operations/dp/047...

Now, as to the other questions that I can answer:

1. What is total float?
The amount of time that an activity can slip without delaying the end of the project. Usually computed as TF = LF – EF.


2. What are the difference between free float and total float?
FF is a special type of TF. Whereas TF is the amount of time that an activity can slip without delaying the end of the project, FF is the amount of time that an activity can slip without delaying the early dates of a successor.


3. What is a constraint?
A limitation that reduces the efficiency with which a project can be accomplished. Scheduling constraints come in three main falvours: NET, NLT and ON, standing for No Earlier Than, No Later Than, and (surprisingly!) On. These are input to a schedule, are usually calendar-based, and override the predecessor/successor logic, thus often causing positive or negative float on the longest path. Negative float needs to be resolved, and often is by compromising on other parts of the plan.

Resource availability is another type of constraint that can delay a project’s schedule and efficiency.

In general, constraints should not be input to the schedule until after the schedule ahs been optimized through critical path analysis, as it is important to be able to gauge the impact of a constraint from the “Newtonian” constraints of the work.


4. What are the difference between MS Project and Primavera?
The same as between a Vespa and a Hummer. (Sometimes a Vespa can be more useful!)


5. How to load cost & resource in a program? Through the WBS, in a process called activity-based resource assignments, or ABRA. Assigned resources should be overhead-burdened to get an accurate picture of costs.

It is important to note that cost can be assigned, tracked and managed at a higher level than schedule or resources – a euro is a euro is a euro, but both resources and schedule dates are specific, and need to be managed with greater specificity.


6. What is WBS?
Work breakdown structure, a hierarchical format for identifying, displaying, reporting, and changing project work. Since the WBS is the “skeleton” of work on which the resource, cost, schedule information is draped, it is the principle tool for implementing
scope/cost/schedule integration.


7. What is a milestone? What are the types of milestone?
A milestone is an event. Activity-driven milestones are usually entered into PM software as activities with durations of zero. Since milestones have no duration, once they are reached they are immediately in the past. It is therefore good practice to name activities using the past participle of the verb (i.e., “Test component” = activity; “Component tested” = milestone.


8. What are the difference between flag and milestone activity?
No idea -- I’ve never heard the term flag activity.


9. What is a critical activity?
Although the term may be mis-used (i.e., with other meanings), a critical activity is one that is on the longest path.


10. What is resource allocation and leveling?
Resource allocation is assigning resources to activities (ABRA). Leveling is changing activity schedules to get rid of “utilization spikes” and use resources more “efficiently”. There are two different “flavours” of leveling: time-constrained and resource-constrained.

Time- constrained leveling attempts to remove the resource utilization spikes/bottlenecks without delaying activities beyond an input date (often the CPM completion date, which means that no activity is delayed beyond its float).

Resource-constrained leveling delays activities, if necessary, beyond their float(s) in order to reduce utilization levels, period by period, to availability levels.

The Total Project Control (TPC) methodology incorporates a resource-leveling metric called the CLUB, or Cost of leveling with Unresolved Bottlenecks. This is the amount by which project expected value is reduced PLUS the cost by which the projects “Marching Army” costs (Overhead and LOEs) increase due to the delay caused by resource constraints. The CLUBs can be used to justify the additional resources that would make the bottlenecks go away.


11. What is a Baseline Program?
I don’t know that precise term. The baseline plan is the commitments in terms of product, cost, and schedule, both at project completion and at key interim points. On a fixed price, fixed deadline, contract, the delta between the baseline plan and the working plan is management reserve and profit.

Changes to the baseline plan (“re-baselining”) is usually only permitted if both customer and contractor agree, and usually occur in the event of a mutually-agreed scope increase.

Earned value tracking and analysis is usually performed based on the baseline plan.


12. What are BSWS, BSWP, and ACWP? First, it’s BCWS and BCWP.
These three acronyms are earned value terms that stand for Budgeted Cost for Work Scheduled (planned value, or PV in the PMBOK Guide’s in my opinion ill-advised neologisms), Budgeted Cost for Work Performed (earned value, or EV), and Actual Cost for Work Performed (actual cost, or AC).

Despite the terminology, it is crucial to understand that earned value has NOTHING to do with value – it’s about COST, as the letter “C” in the three original acronyms shows.

BCWS is what was budgeted for each work package as scheduled.
BCWP is the sum of the budgets of all completed activities/milestones.
ACWP is the sum of what it actually cost to complete each of the work packages/milestones.


13. What are SV and CV?
SV is schedule variance, computed as BCWP – BCWS, or the budgets for all activities/milestones accomplished as of a given date minus the budgets for what was scheduled to have been accomplished by that date. It should be noted that SV (and it’s corollary SPI, or BCWP divided by BCWS) can be a very distorting metric, primarily because the BCWS weights are usually loaded onto the early dates, where non-critical activities have float. This means that starting or completing a big-budget activity that has a large amount of float will weigh much more heavily on the SV (and SPI) than a small-budget activity that is on the critical path, despite that fact that the latter is much more important to meeting schedule.

CV is cost variance, computed as BCWP – ACWP, or the budgets for all activities/milestones accomplished as of a given date minus what was actually spent to accomplish them. CV also has a corollary index, CPI, or BCWP divided by ACWP. This shows how much of the budgeted work you have been accomplishing for every dollar actually spent, and is an excellent metric for forecasting future cost profiles on a given project.


14. What is a Budget and how do you compare budget against Actual cost?
Budget is the monetary amount assigned for resources to accomplish the work packages. Actual cost is the monetary amount in resource usage that it actually took.


15. What is an S – Curve?
An S-curve is the cumulative cost function plotted on a histogram, which can vaguely resemble the letter S. BCWS, BCWP, and ACWP are frequently plotted and compared on a histogram as separate and “shadowing” S-curves.


16. What is the difference between P3.1, P3E, and P5 etc.
They are different versions of Primavera, but you’ll need to get a a description of the detailed differences from someone else.


17. What is an open end activity?
I’m not sure exactly how you are using the term. I’ve heard it used for both activities with uncertain expected scope and no specific budget. I’ve also heard it used in scheduling, for an activity that has no FS or FF successors (i.e., successors of its finish).


18. How often you update your program?
Do you mean your baseline? It varies from project to project, depending on reporting/progressing periods. However, the working schedule should be updated on a continuous basis, as each activity is started or finished.


19. What is the difference between Retained Logic & Override Logic?
I don’t know. Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?


20. What is the difference between Continuous & Interruptible scheduling?
Ditto.


21. What is the no. of activities that u monitor & how do u make the update?
I sure hope it’s all, or at least all that have a variance!


(#22 - #24 I will leave to someone else.)

22. How do u measure & compare the progress?

23. Briefly outline the process you follow to build & agree a baseline construction plan.

24. When updating a plan, what key people and/or systems would you expect to need information from? What, if any, analysis of the updated programme would you perform? Who would you distribute your work to?


25. Briefly outline the benefits to a project of a well designed and maintained plan.
A well-maintained plan provides a GPS system that (1) guides the project team; (2) identifies variances as soon as they occur; (3) provides the project with an efficient way to re-calculate the best route to recovery whenever a variance occurs.


26. Give an example of a mistake you have made when planning. What were the consequences? What did you learn from the episode?
I will only reply that the greatest mistake in planning is not to plan, or not to plan in sufficient detail.
Umerfarook Deshmukh
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Good to see all these questions and I would appreciate if someone post the replies for the questions which I have consolidated.I have included all questions which were posted by you.

1. What is total float?
2. What are the difference between free float and total float?
3. What is a constraint?
4. What are the difference between MS Project and Primavera?
5. How to load cost & resource in a program?
6. What is WBS?
7. What is a milestone? What are the types of milestone?
8. What are the difference between flag and milestone activity?
9. What is a critical activity?
10. What is resource allocation and leveling?
11. What is a Baseline Program?
12. What are BSWS, BSWP, and ACWP?
13. What are SV and CV?
14. What is a Budget and how do you compare budget against Actual cost?
15. What is an S – Curve?
16. What is the difference between P3.1, P3E, and P5 etc.
17. What is an open end activity?
18. How often you update your program?
19. What is the difference between Retained Logic & Override Logic?
20. What is the difference between Continuous & Interruptible scheduling?
21. What is the no. of activities that u monitor & how do u make the update?
22. How do u measure & compare the progress?
23. Briefly outline the process you follow to build & agree a baseline construction plan.
24. When updating a plan, what key people and/or systems would you expect to need information from? What, if any, anylsis of the updated programme would you perform? Who would you distribute your work to?
25. Briefly outline the benefits to a project of a well designed and maintained plan.
26. Give an example of a mistake you have made when planning. What were the consequences? What did you learn from the episode?

Looking forward for you all experts replies.

Regards

Umerfarook Deshmukh
Stephen Devaux
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Hi, Tom.

Believe me, I’m not suggesting doing a network diagram by hand! (Don’t get me wrong, it can be lots of fun -- but once you get past about 300 activities, it becomes too much of a good thing! Doing a 24,000 task network for, say, a nuclear plant outage would daunt the most enthusiastic planner!)

Instead, I’m talking about the schedule analysis and optimization. You wrote that Primavera "will optimise a schedule, calculate a CP, and manage slippage at the push of a button." Perhaps we’re using the term "optimise" differently. Given durations and logic, the software will of course calculate the CP, early and late dates, total and free float. But that is not optimising. And no software package can optimise -- it’s a human decision-making process.

In order to optimize, one has to make decisions based on the schedule data, and that means "reading" the data in a convenient format -- the data that’s in the NLD at that site. It can be done in a Gantt chart (which, BTW, is actually a much older format than a network logic diagram), but it still requires using the same data as in an NLD, and a Gantt tends, for my taste, to be more "confused" when all the typical NLD is loaded. (MS Project’s out-of-the-box NLD is pretty awful, but there’s a cheap add-on from CriticalTools.com that’s much clearer.)

Under any circumstances, for optimizing any project, one has to know how much time each CP task is adding to the project duration (i.e., its DRAG). Neither MSP nor Primavera nor any other popular package I know of computes activity DRAG -- it has to be computed based on the other scheduling data. And that means looking either at the NLD or a precedence Gantt chart with all the typical NLD data loaded in.

To get back to the original point, maybe you’re correct and the job applicant should be offered the choice of seeing that 17 activity network in Gantt format. But the question would remain: how much time is each activity adding to the project duration? If you’ve got a CP of 300+ activities, this is crucial info, and nobody is going to take each of the 300+ out in turn to see how much the schedule comes in by -- you’ve got to "read" it. The NLD at that site is just 17 activities -- if someone can’t get the answers (in one format or the other) in a few minutes, I wouldn’t want them doing my schedule.

For any reader wondering what I’m talking about when I say "optimization," the upcoming articles in the series I’m currently writing for ProjectsatWork.com may help. The URL is:

http://www.projectsatwork.com/Departments/Methods-Means/
Tom Howard
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Hi Stephen,

the points you have mentioned are surely all easily done by any Gantt-chart based planning software (even MS Project!). I don’t see what is to be gained by using the older, more antiquated, labour intensive, network diagram system. As I said, I am not really familiar with network diagrams (although I do understand the basic principal). So, forgive me if I’m missing a vital point in all this then, but what is to be gained by calculating network diagrams by hand, against using an advanced software package such as Primavera or PowerProject ? - both of which will optimise a schedule, calculate a CP, and manage slippage at the push of a button.

The speed of the calculations alone make the use of the computer system more favourable, even before the "human error" factor is considered.

However, these disadvantages relate only to the role and function of the internal planning systems.

Externally, there seem to be few clients in the UK construction market who fully understand the Gantt chart layout. A network diagram would well and truely scramble their heads...
Stephen Devaux
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"I been a planner for 8 years or so now, and never come across a network diagram..."

Really?! Tom, I certainly accept your word for this, but I am astonished. How would one go about optimizing a schedule without a network diagram? How does one know which tasks are adding how much time to your CP without that knowledge? And when slippage starts occurring, how do you know where to make changes to pull in your schedule?

I consult frequently on large aerospace contracts, and I can certainly say that both optimization of and working to a resource-leveled network schedule are vital techniques. I also know that the optimization techniques are religiously used on nuclear power plant outage scheduling.

I’m curious as to other folks’ reactions. . .
Shahzad Munawar
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I agree with you Tom as u said in your first paragraph. Be practical Planner rather than do planning on theoretical basis although these theories are essential for basic knowledge but not accounted for any ability on that basis…..
Tom Howard
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I’m pretty sure there are very, very few planners who could answer the network diagram question in an interview situation (me included). However, in this day and age of computers, why would this question even be relevant ? I been a planner for 8 years or so now, and never come across a network diagram...

Is it not the equivalent of interviewing a checkout assistant and asking them to add a trolley full of shopping in their head ?
Haresh Jayanth
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Good work guys.......keep it up
Stephen Devaux
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Some of the questions from this thread will be very useful for some of my graduate students, to show them what they might expect. Especially your list, Haresh. (BTW, in #12, I think you have a couple of typos: BCWS and BCWP, to be precise.)

To stand out from other possible candidates, I think it helps to show that you not only know the basic concepts, but have done some thinking beyond them. One of my former students recently got a job at a major U.S. aerospace company. In his first interview, he was asked about earned value. Not only did he explain the basics, including CPI and SPI, but went on to explain why SPI is a flawed metric (often distorted by float) that leads to bad practice and makes projects later. He immediately was scheduled for a second interview.

His second interviewer asked him about CPM. He briefly explained the basic metrics (like from Haresh’s post), then went on to explain DRAG, and why it is much more "critical" than float. He got the job.

If I were conducting such an interview for a planner/scheduler, I would give each applicant a network diagram such as that on my website at the bottom of this page:

http://www.totalprojectcontrol.com/TPC/tpc.html

I would give them five - ten minutes to tell me how much time each activity is adding to the project duration. (Obviously, I would show them a diagram WITHOUT the answers!) If they couldn’t get activities D,A, and G correct, they’d be out. If they got N and B correct, I’d be very favorably impressed.
Haresh Jayanth
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Very good Gary & Karim , if some more people add up to this questionnaire, we can standardise the interview questions for Planning Engineers probably asked thought the world......

Haresh
Gary Whitehead
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I would suggest some more open-ended questions such as:

1. Briefly outline the process you follow to build & agree a baseline construction plan.

2. When updating a plan, what key people and/or systems would you expect to need information from? What, if any, anylsis of the updated programme would you perform? Who would you distribute your work to?

3. Briefly outline the benefits to a project of a well designed and maintained plan.

4. Give an example of a mistake you have made when planning. What were the consequences? What did you learn from the episode?
Karim Mounir
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hi there,

Some other questions can be as follows:

1. What is the difference between Retained Logic & Override Logic?
2. What is the difference between Continuous & Interruptible scheduling?
3. What is the no. of activities that u monitor & how do u make the update?
4. How do u measure & compare the progress?

Just a few to the list.