Scheduling is a “skeleton” of project control. It connects time, cost, requirements, resources, benefits, risks & interdependencies. Scheduling not only supports project managers to plan work and collect actuals, but also to perform “what-if” analysis and report project progress.
- Project scheduling can be performed by a delegated person or can be shared amongst the team.
- The title of scheduling role varies between countries, industries and organisations. The most common advertised roles are: “Scheduler”, “Master scheduler” and “Planner”.
- While there is a clear distinction between planning and scheduling, both roles are often performed by the same person.
Lack of standardisation and variety of experience in a project team often creates different expectations and may cause internal conflicts. It is important that the roles and responsibilities of a scheduler are documented and communicated to the rest of the team.
Each project team should choose the most appropriate team structure based on project requirements.
There are 4 main structures that could be applied:
Team Structure 1
A project manager performs a project scheduling role. A project manager collects scheduling data from the project team, analyses the schedule and prepares scheduling reports.
Team Structure 2
A project manager collects scheduling data from the project team and provides it to a scheduler. The scheduler then analyses and optimises a schedule and produces scheduling reports for the project manager.
Team Structure 3
A scheduler collects scheduling data from the project team. The scheduler performs analysis on this data, optimises a schedule and provides a status report to the project manager.
Team Structure 4
A project manager assigns an activity owner for each activity in the project. Activity owners collect schedule data from project team members and provide this information to the scheduler. The scheduler analyses and optimises a schedule and provides scheduling reports to the project manager and activity owners.
Schedule Maturity Planning
Regardless of team structure, it is highly recommended to perform Schedule Maturity Planning and agree on a required level of schedule maturity. The Schedule Maturity Planning is part of the Schedule Planning Process and has to be performed BEFORE a project schedule is built, not after.
The schedule maturity includes scheduling processes, tool, methods and techniques. Also, it defines required scheduling skills and capacity.
Schedule Maturity Planning has to involve all key stakeholders: project and program managers, scheduler, PMO manager, stream lead. Together they need to decide a target level of schedule maturity and which of the structure above would suit the project needs the best.