How I became a professional scheduler

My project management experience began in the 70’s as an IBM systems engineer installing mainframe computers and applications for multinational corporate customers in a Manhattan branch office.  Every hardware and software installation was a project and I found myself performing the roles of both scheduler and project manager.   In the 80’s I became involved with larger internal IBM projects. The role of scheduler was not a recognized job description.   In 1988 I took on the still unrecognized role of scheduler for the Somers project coordinating the activities of 26 first line organizations reporting to 3 VP’s responsible for preparation of the 58,000 square foot raised floor computer room, operations, communications, security, and the other common site facilities, moving 2300 IBM US  executives and 18 mainframes from New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York to the new facility with no service interruptions.

I used a variation on earned value metrics with person-days instead of $, and rolled up person-day lateness from each resource to their manager, their managers manager, and so on up the hierarchy to the director that owned the project.  Each week the director would see which of his 3rd lines owned the largest lateness, the 3rd lines would see their 2nd lines who would see their 1st lines who could see their latest resources.   No one at each level wanted to own the largest lateness.  Visibility to all kept that project on schedule.   In 14 months the project hit 50 major milestones on their exact dates and exceeded all financial targets.  The project was highlighted in the first quarter 1990 division newsletter.  To distinguish what I had done from project management I called it project administration.

I joined PMI in 1989 and presented a paper on the Somers project at their 1990 Symposium in Calgary.  After the symposium the editor of PMI’s pmNETwork magazine, interested in my  experience, asked me to put together an article for the magazine.  They printed all 28 pages.  It became the showcase article for the July 1991 issue.  I left IBM in 1992 and formed the Project Administration Institute, Inc. (PAI).  Our company has been scheduling projects for clients since 1992.  The pmNETwork article was good PR for IBM and PAI.

For additional history see my resume under the About menu above.  The papers referenced in the resume are in the site library.