What Does a Project Scheduler Do? (A Step-By-Step Guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A project scheduler is an essential part of a project management team, mainly in construction and engineering as they require effective schedule management. The project scheduler typically works with the project manager in performing different functions to complete construction projects successfully. If you're interested in becoming a project scheduler, it is important to understand the duties and qualifications needed for the job. In this article, we discuss the duties and responsibilities of a project scheduler, outline how to become a project scheduler, and highlight the essential skills required to become successful.

What does a project scheduler do?

If you're interested in pursuing project management jobs, you may wonder, "What does a project scheduler do?" Project schedulers often create and manage schedules for projects, primarily in construction and engineering. They assist project managers in planning schedules, coordinating tasks, and observing the timelines of scheduled assignments. A project manager typically collaborates with project leads, technical experts, and other professionals in the project management team to supervise the implementation of the schedule. Project schedulers also coordinate tasks and ensure that the relevant team members complete them promptly.

Project managers evaluate the extent and impact of delays on the schedule when such delay occurs. The project scheduler creates draft models for the business capability to explain different processes to all users. They also coordinate cross-functional departments to detect issues, observe action items, and work with the project manager to guarantee their resolution. Project schedulers also develop and maintain risk registers to ensure effective risk management and minimize their impacts on construction projects' scope, schedule, and budget. The project scheduler also regularly communicates with the project stakeholders to inform them of its progress.

Related: What Is Project Coordination and Why Is It Important?

How to become a project scheduler

You can take the following steps to become a successful project scheduler:

1. Get an education

Getting a relevant undergraduate degree is vital to pursuing a career in project scheduling, even if some employers now recruit based on relevant experience and training. A project scheduling job typically requires a minimum high school diploma or equivalent, but a bachelor's degree is essential for career growth. Project scheduling involves different aspects, and a bachelor's degree in engineering, construction, or project management can prepare you for specific parts.

2. Gain relevant experience

Experience is a vital aspect of a project scheduling career for different reasons. Many employers prefer project schedulers with valuable and relevant experience to candidates with academic qualifications. For example, project schedulers require comprehensive experience in management, construction, and schedule planning. Other employers require at least two years of experience as a project scheduler in a related industry. You can begin developing the necessary experience through different internship positions during your undergraduate program. Internships are essential because they help you develop a practical and first-hand knowledge of a project scheduler's responsibilities.

Related: How to Become a Project Manager (With Salary Expectations)

3. Apply for a job

Multiple employers require a combination of relevant professional experience and academic qualifications from candidates. Getting a job involves factors like, submitting an excellent resume and a cover letter, and passing an interview. Ensure your resume is clear and concise, as it helps employers read it easily and quickly. Highlighting all your relevant skills and qualifications is also important as it attracts the reader's attention. For example, your application to become a project scheduler can include your leadership and teamwork skills, and your degree or certification. An excellent interview requires researching common interview questions and preparing them before the interview.

4. Get a postgraduate degree or certification

Getting a relevant postgraduate degree or certification is essential as it can introduce you to diverse opportunities. Hiring managers often prefer project schedulers with either a postgraduate degree or a certification, as they usually demonstrate your proficiency in project scheduling. You can earn a postgraduate degree in engineering, business administration, or management information systems. Certifications you can obtain include the Project Management Institute Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) certification, which requires you to have either 40 months or 30 hours of project scheduling education. The latter is applicable if the candidate has a relevant bachelor's degree.

5. Network

Networking is an essential aspect of developing your project scheduling career. An excellent network can offer you numerous benefits. For example, your connections can introduce you to different jobs or industry opportunities. They can also serve as referees and endorsers when you apply for opportunities. Ensure your network includes other similar professionals, such as program managers. There are many ways to make valuable connections, including attending industry lectures or events.

Essential skills for a project scheduler

Here are some of the necessary skills for project schedulers:

Communication skills

This involves receiving and transferring information to people via writing or orally. These skills are essential for project schedulers to engage with team members regarding developing and implementing scheduling tasks. Communication skills also enable project schedulers to explain difficult project concepts to construction staff in understandable terms. Project schedulers can build their communications skills through constant practice and comprehensive knowledge of their duties. Having excellent writing skills can also help develop your written communication skills.

Read more: 7 Ways to Communicate Effectively (Plus Benefits and Tips)

Organizational skills

Organizational skills help you use your resources efficiently by helping you remain focused on different responsibilities. This skill set is vital to project schedulers because they simultaneously handle different aspects of a project's schedule and guide other team members. Organizational skills also help the project schedulers maintain a risk register to predict and prepare for any risk adequately. You can develop organizational skills by employing scheduling tools to help you keep track of time and your progress.

Related: Understanding Project Management Methodology (With Examples)

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills assist in determining the source of a problem and finding an effective solution. Project schedulers require problem-solving skills as their work considerably involves promptly detecting and resolving scheduling issues. Problem-solving skills can also help develop an efficient risk management system. You can develop problem-solving skills by constantly reading and updating your technical skills and increasing your proficiency in the field. Asking questions can also assist you to develop this skill, as others can give you a different perspective regarding a challenging task.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills refer to the skills that enable you to positively interact with other persons. Project schedulers develop scheduling and execution strategies and communicate them with relevant team members. Excellent interpersonal skills usually allow flawless interaction between project schedulers and team members. These skills are also essential because construction personnel work long and stressful hours, so a project scheduler requires excellent interpersonal skills to effectively interact with them. You can develop interpersonal skills by developing your communication skills and empathetic abilities.

Attention to detail

This skill enables project schedulers to detect smallest errors. It's essential for project schedulers because their work involves considerable information that can individually affect a schedule. Identifying key and minor details can help the project schedulers keep the project on schedule. Attention to detail can also help project schedulers detect and prepare for numerous issues that can cause significant delay or risk. Project schedulers can develop accurate project timelines as a result, as they can predict delays. You can improve this skill by ensuring you're attentive while performing your responsibilities.

Familiarity with test scheduling tools

Scheduling tools reduce human intervention leading to improved speed, efficiency, and reliability. As a result, it's vital for project schedulers to learn to use scheduling tools to significantly increase their output speed and quality. Familiarity with project scheduling tools also enables a project scheduler to observe project progress and detect any possible concerns easily. They also help the project scheduler ensure the team members understand their tasks, dependencies, responsibilities, and deadlines.

Related: What Is a Project Management Plan? WIth Tips and Examples

Analytical skills

Analytical skills help you prepare a logical and step-by-step approach to solving problems. It involves collecting and evaluating information to make rational decisions. Project schedulers also assist in detecting potential scheduling delays and subsequently developing plans to resolve them. As a result, they require excellent analytical skills to collect and gather relevant information to develop accurate schedules and give correct deadlines. You can develop analytical skills by engaging in several logical games and puzzles such as chess and crossword puzzles.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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