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Why Did I Become a Planning & Scheduling Manager? – Jan van den Berg

Jan van den Berg  is a member of the ProjectManagers.Org community. He shares his story on why he became a Planning & Scheduling Manager in the following interview:

Why did you become a Planning & Scheduling Manager?

I became a project manager as a logical step in the development of my career, and this lasted 15 years. The Company I worked for at that time, one of the largest engineering and construction businesses in the Europe, had two paths for development; one was the recruitment of high potentials from the Delf University, and the second path was the ïnhouse potentials. I was the latter.

What work were you doing previously?

Previously, I was a project engineer in the management team for Offshore facilities, bridges, docks, and other heavy civils steel constructions.

Previous to that I was the head of the production engineering, planning, and scheduling department. I

What are you doing now?

Now I am a Senior / Lead Planner and Project Control Specialist.

When was the moment you decided to make the change?

I Changed from Project Manager to Planning and Scheduling.

Are you happy with the change?

No, I am not satisfied with this change, but I had no other choice. In the late nineties, I had some serious heart problems and was forced to step down

What do you miss and what don’t you miss?

What, I miss the most is the leading of a team, to work together and getting project satisfactory completed and also to see the development of high potentials in my team.

What I do not miss is are the clients site representatives whom could not understand the full extent of their actions with regards to changes late delivery of Company Supplied deliverables.

How did you go about making this career move?

I learned planning and scheduling in the mid-seventies and became fascinated how Critical Path Networks could help the team and me to getting project delivered on time. First with hand drew networks, later I followed courses and training and used Artemis 2000, Suretrak, Primavera P3 and now in Primavera P6 and Primavera Risk Analysis

What didn’t go well? What ‘wrong turns’ did you take?

The career move did go well. Excellent course and training facilities were available in the Netherlands and the Company insisted on Critical Path Networks for all the projects and facilitated the proper education and training. Senior Management firmly believes in the effectiveness of CPM scheduling.

How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?

The change from Project Manager to Planner Scheduler had a great impact on my salary. The salary was considerably less. So, I made my lifestyle fit my new job, and I was lucky that my employer paid for all the courses.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?

The most difficult I found was I could run my projects in my way and as a planner  scheduler I had to consider the way the project manager was running his projects.

What were other difficulties and how did you overcome them?

I did not have major other difficult others then I had low energy levels.

What help did you get?

I got help from my colleague and friend, Manager Operations, who is also a seasoned planner and scheduler who employed me for my skills and knowledge.

What have you learned in the process?

I found out that good relations with colleagues during your working life are essential.

What do you wish you had done differently?

I live in the present and for the future and do not look back.

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?

The advice I can give is to follow your dreams and goals and persist in following them.