Construction – one of The 3 Cs
In recent articles we introduced the 3Cs for a Proper Plan:
Last week we elaborated on Content, now it’s the turn of Construction.
The ingredients for a well-constructed schedule
The construction of a fit-for-purpose schedule requires a methodical technique, aptitude and experience.
The project planner’s underlying technique is formed by their early training and junior roles and then refined, or compromised, over following years on the job. There are courses to learn planning software, courses to learn conventional planning techniques, manuals, “bodies of knowledge”, professional standards, software tools to evaluate the quality of schedules, social/professional media groups and opportunities to work with other project planners and learn. There is also the (sometimes personal) feedback from colleagues and clients; who may or may not actually know what they are talking about. You won’t be surprised that Project Pilots claim to have much to impart, if you’d like to ask us.
Technique is a major influence on planners’ ability to develop fit-for-purpose schedules, but they are not the only factor and the planner’s personal attributes must not be taken for granted.
Aptitude is vital. Not everyone is cut out to be a project planner and on the face of it the profession appears to be self-selecting; there are a great many people who take look over the fence into our world and quickly decide it is not for them! Whether they think it is too complex, too boring, too specialist, it doesn’t matter which if they have neither the aptitude nor appetite for the profession. However, it is also evident from the abundance of bad schedules, that far everyone who is a planner is capable of being a great planner and some fall a long way short. The Peter Principle is at work https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle and project planning roles are often seen as easy opportunities for sideways promotions, which Peter charmingly refers to as lateral arabesques. Even when the new planner has been competent in previous roles, beware Peter’s warning – skills in one job do not necessarily translate to another!
The need for experience is also so self-evident that it highly valued when enlisting planners. Yet, just as in our wider lives we have learnt that age doesn’t always mean wisdom, A planner needs appropriate experience for a role and even more importantly, they need to have learned good lessons, not bad practice.
This leads to the great conundrum; how do you identify a good planner? There’s a lack of professionalism in our “profession” and thus a lack of formal benchmarks such as qualifications, membership of dedicated professional bodies, etc. Too often selection is based on CVs, time served in a particular sector, sometimes the opinion of another planner and, in many cases, salary or rate expectations. These are insufficient to avoid mistakes.
Not really a conclusion! It should be becoming clear that we think the route to a good project plan begins with a good project planner and that fundamental techniques cannot be taught effectively if a planner lacks talent or appropriate wisdom. You can’t polish a turd!
You can, of course, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you’d like our assistance in finding a project planner that meets our own high standards.
ps An essential attribute that is required regardless of the sector, size or complexity of the project is the ability to communicate well. That’s the cue for our next article Clarity.