Planning Overview

The following steps are important to obtaining the schedule plan.

• Create the project definition. The project manager and the project team develop the statement of require­ments (SOR), which identifies the purpose, scope, and deliverables for the project and defines the responsi­bilities of the project team.

• Develop a risk management strategy. The project team evaluates the likely obstacles and constrains and cre­ates a strategy for achieving the required costs, sched­ule, and quality.

• Build a work breakdown structure. The team identifies all the tasks required to build the specified deliver­ables. The scope statement and project purpose help to define the boundaries of the project.

• Identify task relationships. The detailed tasks, known as work packages, are placed in the proper sequences.

• Estimate work packages. Each of these detailed tasks is assigned an estimate for the amount of labor and equipment needed and for the duration of the task, which will be explained in Chapter 5.

• Calculate the initial schedule. After estimating the dura­tion of each work package and figuring in the sequence of tasks, the team calculates the total duration of the project. This initial schedule, while useful for plan­ning, will probably need to be revised further down the line.

• Assign and level resources. The team adjusts the schedule to account for resource constraints. Tasks are resched­uled in order to optimize the use of people and equip­ment used on the project, which will be discussed in Chapter 5.

These steps provide all the required information to understand how a project will be executed. The steps are systematic, but they don’t necessarily come up with the "right answer." It may take several iterations of these steps to find this answer, which is the optimal balance between cost, schedule, and quality.

The planner plays a key role in controlling the project outcome and flagging potential bottlenecks and problems for the project man­ager. It is expected that the planner set up a weekly review meeting for each of his or her projects with the following deliverables:

• Attendees should consist of the appropriate cost engi­neer, project manager and senior project engineer, and construction supervisor.

• Review plans, identify issues, and agree on action steps to overcome them.

• Receive hand marked updates from the construction supervisor.

• Review the actual percentage complete versus the planned percentage complete, percentage milestones met, and approximate costs (from the plan) to be passed to the cost engineer.

The planner should be seen as proactive not reactive, predicting the future issues and proposing solutions.

The planner’s main skill is in the art of communicating with the project management team, cost engineer, construction supervisor, and contractor. A good planner is a good communicator.