The Competencies and Skills Needed for World Class Maintenance Planning and Scheduling

To be a great Maintenance Planner and Scheduler you need to know a lot about your equipment’s’ engineering, how to manage complicated projects well, use world class maintenance processes for creating equipment reliability, and a whole lot more.

Recently I was asked what skills and competencies a Maintenance Planner and Scheduler needs to master to do world class maintenance planning and scheduling.

First you need to understand what a Maintenance Planner and Scheduler does and what they are responsible to make happen. The easiest way to understand the duties and requirements of maintenance planning and scheduling is to develop the maintenance planning process Supplier-Inputs-Process-Outputs-Customer (SIPOC) diagram.

A Maintenance Planner and Scheduler needs to make the maintenance planning process happen. How well they accomplish that, i.e. how efficient and effective their process is, is a measure of their competence.

On the maintenance planning process SIPOC diagram are listed the necessary outputs required for each process step. For each step are identified the competencies and skills needed to do that step well. The sum of all the skills and competencies necessary to deliver each of the process step outcomes in the SIPOC is the capabilities and attributes required of the maintenance planner and scheduler.

You can see what skills and competencies I derived from the SIPOC on the Maintenance Planner and Scheduler Skills and Competency List.

To do the list of maintenance planning and scheduling competencies and skills well you need a lot of supporting foundation knowledge and particular leadership characteristics. You can see my opinion of the ‘perfect’ Maintenance Planner characteristics and knowledge set. It is based on what I have seen work well over the last thirty years in engineering and maintenance. But it is still only my opinion without hard facts to support my views.

The personal characteristics listed raise the most questions. My life experiences warn me that it is what people do that matters and not what they say. Given the choice, I would want my maintenance planners and schedulers to display the characteristics that confirm the presence of the right personal attitudes, abilities and commitments that support successful maintenance planning and scheduling results.

Notice that the personal characteristics are actually behaviours. They are external evidence of the use of the skills and practices needed to do the maintenance planning and scheduling role well. For example, a planner or scheduler who uses a personal diary shows evidence that they understand the need to allocate time and resources to do a job. They believe in the value of planning and scheduling because they always do it in their own life. Running their own diary means that they have actually sat down and organised their day, week, month and year. They have thought through the implications and the interactions required. They have considered the impacts on the future and about the resources required to complete a task. They understand scheduling at a personal level and learnt what it means to do it well and to not do it well. A planner or scheduler that plans and schedules for other people but does do that for themselves is unlikely to fully understand the interactions and implications of planning and scheduling.

Another example showing evidence of the right behaviour is having organised other people to complete projects. If a person has already experienced how to coordinate and manage projects in their own life by doing several projects for themselves or for others they have a fuller understanding and appreciation of project management. They may not be brilliant project managers but they value its worth and better understand its importance and its use. A planner or scheduler that has never project managed much in their lives will not know what needs to be done to get jobs completed through people.

I hope the above makes you think deeply about what is world class maintenance planning and scheduling and how you go about producing it on purpose.


My best regards to you,

Mike Sondalini
Managing Director
Lifetime Reliability Solutions HQ

P.S. Throughout the world you can now do our online 10 module Maintenance Planning and Scheduling training course with certificate once completed. Read more at Online Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Training Course.