Project scheduling software skills

A helpful skill, which new industrial engineers can utilize to their advantage, is to learn the project scheduling software at their new company. The software may be similar to something you have utilized before at school (Microsoft Project is commonly used, or something similar). Not only will knowing the scheduling software help you on your own projects, but you can help others with their projects.

Early on, you can get a good reputation as a useful project resource by featuring your project scheduling knowledge. This will also let you have contact with several project managers and exposure to several different types of projects. It will be important to really understand the details for using the software, in order to build useful project schedules. This may require taking some online courses or studying the available reference materials on the software. It also should involve you meeting others at the company who know how to utilize the project scheduling software.

Build your schedules from a good tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 outline, with logical links of related & dependent tasks. Make it easy to view the phases and major sub-tasks of the entire project. Develop good task completion estimates (based on past knowledge of similar activities), and build in recovery times based on known and potential risks. Show key presentation dates and planned deliverable reviews on the project schedule.

This is also a good time to review your overall project management knowledge from your previous internships and your senior design project. You might also want to look over some of the articles in this blog, in the Student projects and ISE-related skills categories.

Bring in any useful textbooks from your university classes; or take some online training and buy some textbooks from the Project Management Institute (PMI).