Top 17 Project Scheduler Skills to be Best on the Job
When you are working as a project scheduler, you need to possess the right skills and qualities necessary to excel on the job.
In this article, you are going to learn about project scheduling and the skills you require to succeed on the profession.
First, let’s see what project scheduling is about:
What is project scheduling?
A project schedule is a document collecting all the work required to deliver the project on time, while project scheduling is a mechanism to communicate what tasks are required to get done and which organizational resources will be given out to complete those tasks, and in what timeframe.
When it comes to creating a project schedule, you need to ask yourself, “what and who is being scheduled and for what purpose?” You need to also know where the scheduling will be taking place.
See a sample of project scheduler job description.
17 Skills and Qualities to be Highly Effective as a Project Scheduler
If you are working or planning to work as a project scheduler, here are important skills and qualities you need to develop to be effective on the job:
1. Problem Solving Skills
It is normal that problems occur in the development of a project, but at the same time project schedulers should think of the most effective way they can overcome the problems so that the project can continue in the appropriate direction.
They should be resourceful and creative in their approach to problems, and they need to identify in most cases the right person(s) within the team to help them resolve the problem quickly and efficiently.
Schedulers should use a systematic approach to solve any problems they may confront during scheduling of projects.
They should be able to predict possible problems in advance and brainstorm solutions in case issues arise.
They should first determine the causes of the problem, generate ideas, choose the best alternative, and then take action to effectively deal with the problem.
For project schedulers to prevent costly delays and keep their work on track, they need to have backup plans and options to help out in resolving difficult issues.
In a situation where they cannot predict a problem, they should be able to tackle every unexpected problem and ensure that minor issues do not turn into major setbacks.
2. Scheduling Skills
It is important to be effective in your daily scheduling of projects and maintain the ability to organize tasks in the right order.
As you schedule a project, you should monitor the progress as the project moves forward. You should also make tweaks to ensure that everything stays on track.
Project schedulers should have the ability to set up realistic schedule and then manage resources to keep on track so the project can be successfully concluded on time.
There are various tools that can help you with the process of scheduling. They include the online Gantt chart that provides a visual of the schedule with tasks and durations, dependencies and targets.
To enhance their scheduling skills, project schedulers should add progress milestones as check points to the schedule and regularly check them; put higher risk tasks closer to the beginning of their schedule; become aware of the different types of duration counts that can be used to estimate task duration; anticipate that the project schedule will change as task or client needs to fluctuate, and have a process for taking care of changes.
3. Budgeting Skills
It is vital for project schedulers to write project budgets so as to get projects properly funded and controlled.
A project scheduler’s ability to get approval for the necessary funding depends on the costs they estimate in their budget.
Projects that exceed the estimated budget are often seen as unsuccessful, even if the projects are delivered on time.
For this reason, schedulers should consult with their project team and sponsor when estimating their costs.
Their budget should not just be the total costs of their project, but the total cost plus padding for risk reduction.
They should learn from related budgets that their team or company may have created before, and pay attention to the areas that went beyond budget.
4. Decision Making
As there will always be decisions that need to be acted on, project schedulers should possess good decision-making skills to help them in issues such as risk management, marketing, legal issues, and others.
Project schedulers should be able to think quickly and react decisively to help define the project track.
Their ability to confidently make decisions is not only vital for personal life but also very important in professional life as well. The importance of good decision making is that a single minor wrong decision taken can easily put the entire project in danger.
Some schedulers doubt their own judgment and pay no attention to essential decisions, which can lead to a disorganized state in the project channel.
They need to believe in their capacity to make proper decisions and act on those decisions made without any delay.
Good decision involves the ability to see differences between options, pros, and cons, and the outcome that results from choosing one or the other.
An effective decision making skill is the ability to make decisions that other people will cherish and preferably follow.
An effective decision making is inspirational and attracts people to the suitability of the choice, and then creates within them the desire to see it implemented.
Project schedulers should arm themselves with all the information they need from the onset so that at the appropriate time informed decisions can be made quickly.
If you are able to build up a powerful strategy, you will have a few different skills such as foresight, analytical ability, and innovation all merged together.
The strategy skills will give you the ability to analyze the present situation, come up with measures to achieve the end goals, and plan their implementation.
With a good strategy, you can come up with ideas that solve problems and predict obstacles by planning around them and choosing the most efficient course of action.
If you have special leadership skills and have a firm grasp of how project scheduling can enable business strategy, you may be among a small percentage of project schedulers who will be highly sought after by lots of employers.
6. Negotiation Skills
Project schedulers need to be able to negotiate well the use of resources, budgets, schedules, project scope, and many different compromises that are unavoidable.
With good negotiation skills, they can easily reduce risk and work with their team and client to control scope changes and limited deadlines.
For project schedulers to be able to resolve conflicts that may arise among stakeholders, they need to possess excellent negotiating skills.
They need to also negotiate at every step, starting from smartly settling at the best price with the vendor to constantly motivating the confidence of team members to keep the project progressing at a good speed.
With negotiation as part of communication skills, project schedulers can bring together various people with potentially competing interests and priorities under a shared vision to accomplish a necessary goal.
Good negotiation goes in line with humility. The ability to be humble enough to ask for help is required as people sometimes won’t be willing to give in unless they see you really need them to offer some help.
7. Enthusiasm and Passion
Enthusiasm and passion will enable you to always go with a can-do attitude, instead of being negative and giving reasons for why you can’t do certain things.
It is better to be wholly committed to your goals and make known your dedication through confidence.
When you are positive, enthusiastic, and passionate, you are showing the client that the project is being managed to a high standard, and most importantly, team members will follow you.
When leading a project, it is crucial to show utmost passion so that others can learn from you.
As they see the amount of passion you have for what you do, they will get motivated and this will at last lead to increased efforts.
Showing empathy to the members of your team will make them to esteem you more and help the project follow in the right track. This means you have to understand and care for them as well as being grateful for their assistance.
Being empathetic will make you to deeply comprehend the needs of the project and its stakeholders.
You need to understand that there is life outside the workplace and that others are not machines but human beings with feelings.
Develop personal relationship with the team members and the project will yield better results.
9. Effective Communication
Effective communication involves important collaboration with team members, successful leading of projects, knowing how to confront people, creating meaningful relationships with coworkers, and establishing a vivid vision of what is achievable.
Poor communication can lead to inefficiency and project failure. Know what you want to say and how to say it to enhance your job skills.
Know how to clearly communicate the goals, expectations, and feedback to ensure the project follows the proper trend.
You can use technologies such as reporting tools, chat or file sharing to facilitate person-to-person and group communication alike.
These will enable you to clearly communicate your goals, vision, guidelines, and expectations to others.
You must be able to deliver and receive constructive feedback and listen to others. This will give you the ability to work well with others in any environment.
As a good project scheduler, you must know how to write and speak well, and how to explain things clearly and concisely without confusing the listeners. You must also know how to get ideas, concepts, and plans across to others.
Being a good communicator helps you to connect with people at all levels, set clear expectations with the team, and make successful presentations.
You can easily and confidently communicate changes to the people affected by the project in a sensitive way that recognizes the concerns people always have when major changes are being implemented.
Leadership skills help you to manage your team well and effectively coach, lead, and motivate your coworkers.
The skills help you to make sure work gets done effectively by focusing on creating the right assignments, delegating tasks, setting goals, delivering bad news, and evaluating individual and team performances.
Your leadership skills also help you to compliment your employees when they are doing good work, and your employees will know you value their contributions. By so doing you will see yourself leading a project through to successful delivery.
Leadership may be seen as a kind of influence that attracts people to follow your example, listen to you, trust you, and follow you.
What influences people is your moral character, followed by eloquent speaking ability and charismatic personality.
A good leader must be reliable, faithful, honest, trustworthy, and diligent. He/she must not be a pretender, and must value the right things.
He/she must be ready and willing to sacrifice at any time, and set aside personal wants, needs, and preferences for the good of the people.
Leadership is not about the imposition of your demands on people by force, but about leading wisely and with the proper goals.
Keep your team focused on a goal and motivate them to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high. Lay the groundwork for the success of others and let them walk through it.
With good leadership skills, you will be able to build an agreement among project teams, resolve disputes, provide direction, and persuade people to stay focused on the tasks at hand when they have received bad news such as the project budget being cut.
Leadership is about where you want to go as a team, about creating compelling vision for the future, and inspiring others to follow.
It is about forming and managing teams, communicating with stakeholders and making excellent decisions at appropriate times.
Leadership skills go alongside with excellent people skills for the ability to form a solid team where members help and support each other.
A good leader is enthusiastic and optimistic, and knows the strengths and weaknesses of team members.
The ability to get well organized is very important also to the job of a project scheduler, and will help you to get yourself back together if you are the type of person who crumbles under pressure and forgets about the process required to run a successful project.
Others may be demanding action from you, making you to lose focus and thereby cause the project to be unsuccessful.
Organization involves entering all tasks in your calendar, setting reminders for certain activities, and keeping paperwork under control.
You should know your tasks, status of the project, where dependencies exist, how to often be punctual, and meet targets.
You need to be organized in both professional and personal life just because you have so many different aspects to manage and problems to solve while under pressure.
You don’t need to forget where you stored important project information, but you need to keep documentation of each project so as to know what to refer to when a specific problem or question arises, instead of hunting for information and slowing down the project speed.
Organization allows for easy prioritization of tasks, scheduling and budgeting, assessment and allocation of resources, and more.
Furthermore, organizational skills enable the project scheduler to remain in control of the project, and make sure there is no waste or misuse of resources.
To be capable and competent as a project scheduler, you need to demonstrate the ability to inspire, challenge, enable, model and encourage our team. The team must believe that you actually know what you are doing.
You need the ability to successfully lead others, win a track record, initiate new projects, and face the challenges in order to prove your true competence.
You must demonstrate that you are competent and capable enough so as to gain the respect and trust of your team and colleagues.
When you know what you do, your team will feel confident that you are in control and really know precisely what you are doing.
You must be an expert competent leader who successfully guides others rather than a technical expertise. Let people see and recognize your expertise in leadership as another dimension of competence.
Projects, whether big or small require multiple steps to complete. It is therefore necessary to use planning skills to get such projects accomplished.
At times, small projects that have many moving parts must be completed before the next big projects can be tackled.
There is the need to take hold of the end goal and the parts that make it up to know what to do, when and how.
You should plan accordingly when various steps of a project meet. If you are not able to plan effectively, you will fail awfully, whether you are a charismatic leader or not.
A project plan is a formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and project control, and it documents the planning assumptions and decisions, facilitates communication among stakeholders, and documents approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines.
A project plan should answer four basic questions about the project. These questions include what work is being done? Why is it being done? Who is doing it? And when will it be done?
In order to have effective planning, these planning tools must be used: Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), Gantt Charts , and Critical Path Method (CPM) charts.
Your planning should be systematic, and you need to organize a sequence of activities and resources to achieve goals, identify all tasks needed to be done, and use all available information to estimate values.
You should create an environment where any change to the project plan is fed back, and also take remedial action, review and manage risks, issues, attitudes and behaviors of stakeholders, and finally implement the communication plan.
You should report to your sponsor and other senior executives, start all over again, follow this cycle week after week, and then deliver parts of the project in due course.
Major parts of your job as a project scheduler include the ability to organize tasks in the proper order and to come to the right conclusion at the appropriate time.
It is completely important to give scheduling the serious attention it deserves, and to monitor progress as the project moves forward.
You should also make tweaks to make sure that everything stays on track.
You may be very good at execution but without being able to correctly plan a project, the project will fail.
The level at which you are able to efficiently plan will have a direct effect on the project’s ability to succeed.
14. Team Building
No matter how good you are at project scheduling, without the team working well together for a common purpose, the project will not reach a perfect ending.
You need a strong and happy team that can work productively for the success of the project.
As part of successfully leading a team, you should learn about the skills and personality of each individual so as to improve the progress of the team.
You should also spot areas of argument within the team earlier on, and manage conflict critically.
A good team builder is one who proves to be that strong person with the substance to hold the team together in common principle towards the right goal.
The team leader must understand the process and dynamics required for the team to progress and use the appropriate leadership style during each stage of team development.
Building a strong team is never an easy task because there are often conflicts to resolve among team members.
It is only a leader with conflict resolution abilities, focus and patience that can bring members back together into a high-functioning team.
If the team does not work in unity, the project will undergo different relationship challenges that might hold back its success.
Just be fair in the way you treat your team members; focus on their positive traits, and you will have a powerful team.
15. Risk Management
Risk is an uncertain condition that has either a positive or negative effect on a project’s goals whenever it occurs.
For you to conquer risk, you must first identify the risk, analyze it, then prioritize and control it.
For your desire to be recognized as the best project scheduler around, you must learn and educate yourself about risk management while handling projects.
It is your knowledge and experience that will make you to take note of possible risks beforehand and then plan for it.
Use risk management strategies that are suitable for the risk and other action plans needed to be incorporated into your main plan, and track the process as well.
You should understand how much risk is tolerable on the project you are scheduling and divide your risk areas into three categories, namely high risk, medium risk, and low risk.
Create an improvement plan for exposure of all high risk and carry out execution of risk assessment exercises regularly through the life of the project as a way of monitoring new risks that may have surfaced.
You also need to build the costs for all risk management plans into the budget early.
Think of how best you can assess potential risks as accurately as possible in order to stay in control of ugly situations.
It is important to assign a probability to a risk once it is identified and think of backup solutions to add to the original plan.
The better you manage risk, the higher the chances of delivering according to plan.
Project schedulers need the ability to gain the trust of their team and act as honest leaders by demonstrating that they are committed to hold on to both their values and ethical practices.
Schedulers should not forget that their actions set procedures others will imitate. They need to create standards for moral behavior, live by the standards and reward those who demonstrate the practices.
Leadership based on integrity represents nothing less than a set of values others share, and not leadership by self-interest motivation which does not serve the well being of the team.
Practice what you preach and earn trust from your team members.
If you desire to be an effective and successful project scheduler, you need to have a vision of where to go and how to articulate it.
You need to make people understand they have a real stake in the project, and empower them to experience the vision on their own.
With visionary skills, you will have the ability to see the bigger picture behind a project and efficiently get that vision across to others.
Your ability to successfully articulate the vision of a project will make the team to experience it in their mind and help to get them stuck tight to the project.
Vision generally means knowing where you want to end up, and the best way to get there.
It is the ability to see things such as opportunities, problems, concepts, and realities that other people cannot see.
Being visionary enables you to succeed on your projects by breaking down large goals into smaller and more manageable parts, and to focus on important details without getting held up by little and irrelevant issues.
Project Scheduler Skills for Resume
If you are making a resume for a project scheduler job, the skills and qualities provided above can help you in writing effective competence or skills section for your resume.
We have just shared with you important project scheduler skills and qualities you need to stay ahead of the game in your industry.
You must use both your personal and professional traits to conquer difficult situations.
Make yourself a problem solver, a good communicator, a team builder, etc. and you will not get confused by tough challenges that usually erupt in every profession, but end up as the best project scheduler everyone wants to work with.
Have you been helped by the information in this post? Please, leave a comment in the box below.. You can also share additional skills or qualities that have contributed to your success as a project scheduler.