Planning, Scheduling, Monitoring and Control

planning-scheduling-bookA couple of weeks ago it was Project Challenge, and on the next stand it was APM. They were showcasing a new book “Planning, Scheduling, Monitoring and Control (PSMC)” which forms the guidance for the new APMG accreditation “Project Planning and Control”. A joint collaboration between two project management organisations.

I’ve heard good things about the book from several project practitioners so now is a good time to see what it is all about.

The PSMC guide fills a gap in APM’s range of publications. This guide is both a back-to-basics guide as well as touching on recent advances in Building Information Modelling (BIM) and agile, for example.

This will make a good book for both project managers and for people who support projects like Project Co-ordinators, PMO etc too.

The book also caters for different learning styles, recognising that some prefer text, others prefer pictures. There are over 150 illustrations and tables, some adapted from the author’s organisations, many of them originals.

If you’ve ever tried to learn the ins and outs of project planning, you’ll know that illustrations are a must!

Another thing about the book is “Plain English”, the authors called this the ‘Emily Test’. Essentially one of the authors asked his daughter Emily to sense check the text when writing, reviewing and finalising the words. The test challenged pompous and pretentious language; and also challenged the authors to write in an easy-to-understand and succinct way.

The authors also thought about the criteria on which the book should be judged by? Summarised here are the three key criteria:

  • Is it practical – in that it provides guidance that can be put to use by the practitioner?
  • Is it practical – in that it can be used as the basis for a syllabus and ultimately a suite of qualifications?
  • Is it practical – can anyone read it and understand the concepts held within it?

So yes to all three, so far so good.

Project planning-control

The other development is that there is an accreditation that sits alongside it.

From the APMG, the Project Planning & Control guidance and training will:-

  • Give a step by step controls guide from project initiation to execution
  • Provide a holistic overview of the interdependencies between planning and controls functions
  • Be a practical and scalable companion to almost any project controls professional
  • Enable effective capability growth for delivery organizations

As is usual with APMG accreditations there is a Foundation and Practitioner level. The training is directly related to the contents of the book, so it makes sense to purchase that first to get familiar with it.

As I said before, several project practitioners who have already purchased it and listened to a couple of the authors talking about it at Project Challenge, they were impressed with what they’re seeing. It’s certainly high time we saw a focus on the most important area of project management – planning – and now there are two new things for you to check out and pursue.







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  1. I see so much “Gantt chart planning” and it dismays me. I see so many “arbitary estimates” and that dismays me too. I’m currently holding a piece of work in the design phase because to start delivery now would equate to failure later. It is critical that we know what is to be delivered, how and when.

    So, better understanding of planning and control by all is welcome. Hopefully it won’t just result in a few pockets of excellence but an overall increase in project maturity.

  2. Lindsay et al,
    Are you aware that there is a well established ALTERNATIVE to APMG? The Planning Planet’s Guild of Project Controls also is publishing our “Project Controls Body of Knowledge” which we are making accessible under “creative commons” license at no cost.

    The Guild has also built a 5 Level COMPETENCY based assessment modeled after the typical career path for a Planner/Scheduler, Cost Estimator/Quantity Surveyor, Claims Analyst or Project Control professional. and

    We believe that the competition between these groups is a healthy process and that in the end, the winners will be the professional level practitioner.

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia

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