Introduction to Planning and Scheduling

(Project Management)

Outstanding Features

Want to improve your organization’s productivity and availability? Planning and scheduling is one of the fastest and most effective investments an organization can make. Let our experts show you how good planning and scheduling decreases waiting times, unnecessary parts and inaccurate information. Budgeting is easier and more accurate. Tasks are as much as 50% more efficient in terms of costs and time.

Course Overview

Planning is preparing a sequence of action steps to achieve the goal. It should be possible to reduce any process to a flow diagram. In planning we call this a network diagram (or sometimes a PERT chart, PERT stands for Project Review and Evaluation Technique).

Very little of the work we do in industry is new or novel. We therefore have numerous opportunities to carefully record what needs to be done and how to do it for any task. We don’t have to invent the plan, we can simply describe a process by observation.

We are further advantaged because much of our equipment is common, or at least very similar, allowing us to take an object-oriented approach to build a larger plan for an asset. This should account for nearly 90% of the equipment we use.
The remaining items can be described as specials, one off pieces of equipment that need a unique plan, that can’t be duplicated form a similar piece of equipment. However, we are still able to observe the necessary tasks and record the what and the how.

It is only when we are at the project stage that we have to imagine the process a task might follow, but even then much of the equipment on new plant is known to the industry and previous plans can be reused in the same object oriented approach, leaving us to imagine only the new and novel pieces of equipment, the specials.

When we cannot observe a process and record it as a plan, we must think through the necessary steps and estimate durations; we call these estimates “norms”. Once a task is performed, we can record the actual durations and replace the use of norms. In other words, by gaining feedback each time an activity is undertaken we can improve the accuracy of a plan. If we do this effectively, we can reduce the time and effort of achieving the goal.

A plan is also like a map. When following a plan, a person can see how much they have progressed towards their goal and how far they are from their destination. This allows us to forecast forming the basis for budget estimates and production profiles. This brings us on to the topic of scheduling.

Attendees will learn and understand that planning and scheduling are two different things.

The plan is the what and the how, the schedule is the who and the when. No matter how accurate the plan is, if we don’t have the resources to do the work it won’t get done. Equally, you can schedule resources but if they don’t know what they must do, your estimate of duration is going to be wrong. Planning and scheduling must be done together but they are not the same.

This course is unique in that it will make the distinction between planning and scheduling. We will introduce planning first and then scheduling. Most commonly, people ignore planning, create a schedule and call it a plan. They have identified the task they want to be done, when they want it to be done and estimated resources and duration, but without any of the detail of the what and the how from a plan. Consequently, most of the ‘planning’ in industry doesn’t work, because they haven’t planned anything, they have created a schedule without any detailed knowledge of the task at hand.

The course looks at planning and scheduling as a feedback loop within an overall asset management strategy, providing continuous improvement of execution. It sits within another feedback loop that is a strategic reliability programme, which should provide the feedback on equipment availability such that the overall strategy of asset management can be adjusted accordingly.

Target Audience

New and Prospective Planners and Schedulers.
Experienced Planners and Schedulers looking to further develop their skills.
Supervisors and Engineers and others wishing to better understand the key principles of effective Planning and Scheduling.

You Will Learn How to

By the end of this course, delegates should (as a minimum) be able to: Explain the fundamentals of asset management and the role that Planners and other maintenance personnel have in ensuring assets are managed to maximize their potential through all the phases of their life cycles.Apply a structured approach to planning activities so that they align with the asset and maintenance management framework of the organisation.Apply a structured approach to scheduling so that workflow proceeds with a minimum of deviation from the schedule.Understand object-orientation and how to provide comprehensive asset planning with a minimum of complication.Understand how equipment reliability is increased by applying the proven concepts and tools of planning and scheduling.


Asset Management

Asset management
The role of planning and scheduling
A typical work management framework

Appraising Work

Time and Motion Work identification Work screening Work prioritisation
Exercise – Prioritising and Screening Work

Planning Work

Identify and comprehend task relationships Build a network diagram
Utilize the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) to make estimates
Calculate the critical path of a project
Work packs
Exercise – Work Planning

Scheduling Work

Gantt Charts Slack Smoothing Levelling Baselining
Exercise – Maintenance Scheduling


Recording work history Analysing work history Continuous improvement

Course Details

Day 1
We begin with an understanding of asset management fundamentals and where planning and scheduling fits into the mix. We examine work management (or work flow). If organisations are to move toward an asset management environment with a focus on maximising equipment life, then the planner must be seen more as a whole of life Asset Management Planner rather than the Maintenance Planner of old. This day is the starting point for that transition.
Day 2
Day two is all about the fundamentals of planning. Uniquely we start with the concepts of time and motion. As discussed above, one of the advantages of our industry is the opportunity to observe and monitor tasks rather than make a plan up, no matter how experienced the planner. Why trust memory when activity can be measured? We then move on to create a network diagram, introduce the Critical Path Method and the value of PERT. Participants will go through the full Critical Path Method to create a network diagram with earliest and latest start and finish times and understand slack (or float).
Day 3
On the third day, we continue the exploration of planning technique before looking at scheduling, the use and interpretation of a Gantt chart, how smoothing, leveling work to optimize the schedule by making use of slack. It is important to note that the plan was created as a network diagram, and the Gantt chart was used to schedule the plan, not the other way around, which cannot work, and we will prove it does not work. This is the critical learning from Day Three, and in many ways the whole course.
Day 4
Day Four builds on Days Two and Three by bringing planning and scheduling together with further exercises to reinforce and practice the principles.
Day 5
On the last day, we will examine CMMS and ERP systems that promise to make life easier, by facilitating job entry and prioritization, backlog management, work scheduling and coordination, tracking progress, and supporting reliability engineers with valuable equipment history and root cause analysis input.
While the introduction of these systems has increased our ability to gather and disseminate information, most planners understand that their lives have become anything but easier. However, used properly these systems can be used to roll out the benefits of planning and scheduling.
Planners must be able to manipulate the CMMS and use other electronic media to improve the quality of the inputs which in turn will improve the quality of the outputs. The quality of the outputs from these systems is reliant on the quality of the inputs and these can only be assured if we have a robust management system to support maintenance, engineering and operations.

Course Length

5 Days

Course Director

Howard Thomas


Upon completion, you will receive a Worley Academy Certificate of Completion.

Course Schedule