The Roles and Attributes of a Scheduler

"The Roles and Attributes of a Scheduler" by Patrick Weaver

Abstract:

This paper is designed to describe the "Three Roles" of a Scheduler.  The roles fulfilled by a scheduler change as the project progresses through its life cycle from a concept, to a definite ‘job’, to a ‘work in progress’. In PMBOK terms, the three phases are: 

  • Pre-initiation (commitment / feasibility planning),
  • Initiation and Planning (execution scheduling) and
  • Executing and Monitoring & Controlling (performance control).

In each role the scheduler’s specific skills are his/her ability to:

  • envision the shape and flow of the project’s work in ‘4D’ – the three physical dimensions + time. This is important in both soft-projects (how the work fits together) and hard-projects (how the elements fit together),
  • synthesise information from disparate sources into an integrated and ‘sensible’ schedule,
  • analyse and validate this preliminary schedule against the overall project objectives,
  • work with the project team to optimise and refine the schedule (with the scheduler using his/her special skills to identify and suggest options, test ‘what-if’ scenarios, etc) until an agreed schedule has been developed,
  • effectively communicate the outcome of the schedule development (or update) process by presenting targeted and relevant information from the schedule in elegant and effective formats; ie, reporting the right information to the right stakeholder at the right time!
  • assist the various project stakeholders, and in particular the project manager, understand and manage the project from a time perspective.

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