Project Planner/Scheduler Defined


Project Planner/Scheduler Defined: A Key Word Analysis of Current Job Descriptions as the Basis for Exam and Competency Assessment Scoring Models

Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS, GPM-m

Jakarta, Indonesia



One of the major global challenges facing project management practitioners in general is to try to standardize the terminology, and more specifically, as we try to obtain mutual or reciprocal recognition and equivalency in our credentialing programs, is to define what the roles and responsibilities of those providing “Project Management Office” (PMO), “Project Controls”, “Cost Engineering” “Systems Engineering”, Business Analyst” or what is commonly being referred to collectively as “project support services”. (PSA)

In the role of a subject matter expert in developing competency assessments in the field of applied program and project management, cost engineering, project controls and project support services, the author is continually looking for better and more reliable ways to determine what the market is actually looking for when they seek to hire “program”, “project”, “project controls” or “project support services” professionals and use that information to create better competency based assessment models for our clients. While we normally provide these professional services for a fee, as a “sustainable” project management consulting organization, we also have a corporate responsibility to share some of our generic “Lessons Learned” to advance the practice of applied program/project management and as a challenge to other practitioners to experiment with different approaches. This is the purpose of this paper. (See Follow on Research)

Based on many years of prior review of internal job descriptions from both owner and contractor companies indicated no consistency in the requirements, either in terms of levels (i.e. entry or apprentice vs experienced or journeyman vs master or senior level) or exactly what the potential employers wanted or expected the people they hired for these positions to actually be able to do. Based on this “Tower of Babel” of confusing and often conflicting requirements, the hypothesis which was originally developed and tested is whether the help wanted advertisements, as posted on the various job boards would prove to provide a more unbiased and accurate indication of what employers actually were seeking than relying on the job descriptions from different companies, many of which are proprietary and confidential.

This is the first of a four part PILOT RESEARCH designed to perform a “Key Word” analysis from current job postings as the basis to define what the market is looking for in terms of:

  • Planner/Schedulers
  • Cost Estimators/Cost Managers
  • Forensic Analysts/Claims Analysts
  • Project Control/Cost Engineers/Systems Engineers/Business Analysts

For this preliminary research the LEVEL of the job was not considered, just what the “preponderance of the evidence” based on the key words being used, showed was expected by employer’s be done by a person in this position, irrespective of level. In this specific example the job title is “Planner/Scheduler”, with the remaining 3 job titles to be the subject of follow on papers.

Not directly the subject of this paper but based on previous papers published on this topic, the author believes the LEVELS are determined not by the “tasks” or “elements” required to be done, (see PMI’s Scheduling Professional Exam Content Outline (http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Certifications/exam-outline/scheduling-professional-exam-outline.ashx) or the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards(http://globalpmstandards.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/12/GAPPS_Project_Manager_v1.1150411_A4.pdf) for an example of what a “Task “or “Element” is) but by the types of knowledge required ( KNOWLEDGE DOMAINS) to perform or execute those “tasks” or “elements” and how those types of knowledge are applied to perform those tasks or elements. (Blooms COGNITIVE DOMAINS as shown in Figure 1 below.)


Figure 1 Levels are determined by TYPES of KNOWLEDGE and HOW THAT KNOWLEDGE IS USED (Blooms) Source Heer, Rex (2009) Iowa State University Center of Excellence in Teaching http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/effective-teaching-practices/revised-blooms-taxonomy

Taking this approach, the KEY WORDS from the JOB ADVERTISEMENTS determine the TASKS or ELEMENTS which are required to be done while the Knowledge Dimensions and Blooms Cognitive Process Dimensions determine the LEVEL of the job.


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About the Author

Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo,

Jakarta, Indonesia

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Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo
, CDT, CCE (#1240), MScPM, MRICS, GPM-M is Senior Technical Advisor (Project Management) to PT Mitratata Citragraha. (PTMC), Jakarta, Indonesia. http://www.build-project-management-competency.com/.

For 20+ years, he has been providing Project Management training and consulting throughout South and Eastern Asia, the Middle East and Europe. He is also active in the Global Project Management Community, serving as an Advocate for and on behalf of the global practitioner. He does so by playing an active professional role in the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International, (AACE); Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and the Construction Management Association of America, (CMAA). He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management (asapm) http://www.asapm.org/ and is on the Certification Board of the Green Project Management Institute. http://www.greenprojectmanagement.org/ He is active as a regional leader in the International Guild of Project Controls. http://www.planningplanet.com/guild

He has spent 18 of the last 35 years working on large, highly technical international projects, including such prestigious projects as the Alyeska Pipeline and the Distant Early Warning Site (DEW Line) upgrades in Alaska. Most recently, he worked as a Senior Project Cost and Scheduling Consultant for Caltex Minas Field in Sumatra and Project Manager for the Taman Rasuna Apartment Complex for Bakrie Brothers in Jakarta. His current client list includes AT&T, Ericsson, Nokia, Lucent, General Motors, Siemens, Chevron, Conoco-Philips, BP, Dames and Moore, SNC Lavalin, Freeport McMoran, Petronas, Pertamina, UN Projects Office, World Bank Institute and many other multi-national companies and NGO organizations.

Dr. Giammalvo holds an undergraduate degree in Construction Management, his Master of Science in Project Management through the George Washington University and was awarded his PhD in Project and Program Management through the Institute Superieur De Gestion Industrielle (ISGI) and Ecole Superieure De Commerce De Lille (ESC-Lille- now SKEMA School of Management) under the supervision of Dr. Christophe Bredillet, CCE, IPMA A Level. Paul can be contacted at [email protected].