Project planners generally get a pretty bad rap. This is because a lot of them are just plain terrible. I thought I would write a light hearted article on the topic. I am sure most of you will recognise some of these.
The 3 Types
The Con Artist
I have come across a surprising number of these. Not only do they not understand their projects but they can’t even use the software properly. Within a couple of update periods this person can destroy a quality schedule to the point of worthlessness. They get by using fabricated CVs, using industry jargon they googled and keeping their heads low on busy projects where no one is really paying attention to what they are doing.
The Software Jockey
They know the software and they will constantly remind you of this fact by mentioning obscure features to sound like an expert. Where they usually fall down is in technical engineering know-how and not being proactive. Although, with enough hand holding they can at least pull together a schedule of reasonable quality.
The baffler usually understands both the project and the software but not how to structure information or communicate clearly. They will make a very convoluted and confusing schedule that no one really understands how to read and their reports will be chock full of data that has no actionable value.
What does a great planner look like?
- They are always asking the right questions and constantly talking to everyone from PM to labourer to keep their finger on the pulse
- They are always hustling for delay claims. Nothing makes them happier than securing an extension on their contract dates
Understand both the technical and commercial stuff
- They can actually read drawings and will have them scattered all over their desk. They might even suggest design changes that improve constructability
- They will know the contract and sub-contracts inside out and ensure that the schedule and scope are aligned with them
They provide a clear path ahead
- They understand that a schedule is useless if not crystal clear for the team. Anyone who doesn’t know the project can pick up their schedule and understand what is going on pretty quickly
- They become regarded by the team as an all knowing oracle of past, present and future
What kind of planner do you have on your team?