Talent Stories I The experience of Vahid Hakami I Project Scheduler
Discover the day of a Project Scheduler
Vahid Hakami is an experienced Project Scheduler. He worked for over a year as a Project Management Consultant at a Catalay client specialized in power generation tools. In this interview, he takes us through a day in the life of a Project Scheduler.
What is a typical project that a Project Scheduler would be involved in?
As a Project Scheduler, you can be involved in various types of projects. The size, section, and industry don’t matter. The project could be small or large and could be related to IT, construction, engineering, automation, manufacturing, oil and gas, and so on. Whatever kind of project it is, as a Project Scheduler, you are the brain or the heart of the project. While the Project Manager makes the decisions, the Scheduler ensures that the Manager is well-informed, enabling them to make the right decisions.
Which skills do you use?
On the one hand, you need hard skills. Relevant education is of great importance. If you haven’t pursued an education in the field of project management and/or scheduling, make sure to take additional courses.
Additionally, you need to be proficient in software such as Excel, MS Project, Jira, and Primavera. Excel may sound outdated, but having a good knowledge of it is very important. It is also highly suitable for data analysis purposes.
On the other hand, you need soft skills. Communication and teamwork are perhaps the most crucial ones. Why?
– You frequently communicate both within your own team and with stakeholders.
– You create a plan and instruct colleagues to control the project based on the plan.
– You need to report to key stakeholders and make cost estimates.
Clear communication and the ability to collaborate effectively are required for all of these tasks.
In which kind of meetings are you involved?
There are three different types of meetings.
– Regular meetings with the team where you discuss the progress of the project.
– Meetings with key stakeholders, where you report to them using a PowerPoint presentation, based on the input you have received from your team.
– Finally, there are exceptional meetings. I call them “firefighting” meetings. If there is a delay or over costs, you can schedule a meeting with the customer to make decisions regarding the budget or time when a problem arises. This could involve approving an extended duration or providing extra funds to finance escalated costs.
Who are the main stakeholders?
It varies, but usually, there are three: the customer, the supplier who provides or equips materials for the project, and the project team itself.
What’s your impact on project success?
If you want to be successful as a Project Scheduler, you need to consider time, scope and costs together. Only then will you be able to assess how closely the current status aligns with your plan.
If there is a mismatch, you can reschedule or address and resolve issues in other ways. Miscommunication can also occur, for example, when a customer asks a contractor to do something in a specific way, but the contractor misunderstands and executes it differently. The customer is not satisfied with the result.
As a Project Scheduler, you intervene and make adjustments. This can only be done if you have a comprehensive overview and can combine the parameters of time, scope, and costs. Additionally, it requires active listening, so that you understand what is needed to make the project successful.
What advice would you give to others who would like to become Project Schedulers?
What I want to emphasise to future Project Schedulers is the importance of having a deep knowledge of scheduling. People often claim that they can schedule, but more than merely knowing how to use MS Project is required. You need to understand terms like ‘critical path’ down to the core to apply them effectively.
Additionally, it is essential to have a precise understanding of the project’s sequence, enabling you to think systematically. Lastly, in my opinion, it is important to be skilled in data analysis as well. Knowing how to create a dashboard and utilise Excel for data analysis, for example, is valuable. If you don’t possess these skills yet, consider taking a training course or pursuing further education.
Written by Alyssa Lefever
Communication & Marketing intern