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May 01
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Training the “Write” Way, Part II

Jim Bratsakis

Posted by Jim Bratsakis

Let’s put the “neo-Luddite” in the classroom and see what pops up on the whiteboard. As I mentioned in Part I of this blog, I like to write things down live (as opposed to using PowerPoint presentations) to encourage active learning during classes.

When the moment to discuss building schedules arrives, I stop and walk over to the white board, colored markers in hand. Then I begin to talk about my 10-point list: “How to Build a Schedule.” It's not complicated or sophisticated. The idea is to get students thinking about building schedules by providing a simple systemic flow that is easy to retain.

 

The genesis for this list occurred decades ago, during a caffeine-fueled all-nighter with my late friend Todd Kramarczyk (or as I called him, “Toddski”). Our friendship extended into our day job, and we worked really well together. On this particular night, he wanted to show the executives how to build a schedule. I, on the other hand, wanted to summarize a class. Throughout the session, we brainstormed and laughed, but in the end,we knew we had hit on something big. This was the list we came up with, and it's been my blueprint ever since.

 

First, notice that it is color-coded. Organizing ideas by color helps students visually group the concepts so they can put them into a logical flow. If they retain the lessons, then they can implement those best practices in building schedules back in their workplaces.

The information in blue is the first step to building a schedule/timeline, whether it’s in P6, Microsoft Project, Artemis, Open Plan, or any other platform. While all these timeline-builders have many other operations, invest your time in using them to build the blue section. Successful scheduling starts with a strong timeline; without it, nothing works.

 

The green section is next, highlighting resources and cost. Once the timeline is built, resources can be added to the tasks/activities. It must not be approached from the reverse perspective. You can't say, “I have 20 people, tell them what to do.” You need to think like this: “I have ‘X’ to do; I need 20 people.” The same is true for assigning costs. There are several strategies for doing this successfully, but the bottom line is that the timeline must be completed first.

The black section comes into play if you have “typical or recurring” work: a “typical or recurring” workflow, a typical part, or a typical piece of equipment. Here you copy the "typical" part until you have enough, sequence it, then make it work. This process was named “templatization” in 1995 by the team of Jim Bratsakis & Todd Kramarczyk, aka Jimmy & Toddski (copyright pending).

Once these sections are complete, you can set the baseline, update the schedule, and repeat.

A simple solution for simple scheduling. Try it sometime!

 

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