Thursday, May 28, 2009


I didn't post yesterday because of yet another migraine. Anywhoo...

Scheduling reminds me of a college "gut" course. It's not difficult, but you still have to show up and do the work occasionally. If you don't, you will fail.

Back before I was a geologist, I worked in a customer-service type job. The adults generally had fixed schedules, and the high school students had pretty much flexible schedules between the hours of 3 pm and 9 pm. We had to have a minimum number of people available to help the public, say, 3. At least one adult had to be on-site to supervise the high school students who did most of the work. Somehow this schedule coordination was beyond the abilities of my boss, who had an advanced degree in this field. She was eventually fired for being utterly ineffectual.

Working out the schedule for an environmental consulting office is likewise fairly simple. You may have a couple more experienced field folks and a few people who are more specialized. So what do you do? You schedule those people first and then you fit in the other people around them. You figure out who's doing what when you first get an inkling when the fieldwork will happen, not the day before, when everybody's already committed.

How hard is this? I've scheduled long-term projects with multiple subcontractors, where each phase depended on the results of previous work, and we had to pull personnel from all over the country. All you need is to sit down and actually think about how to plan stuff, and then keep up with changes as they happen. It's not rocket science.

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