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Program Scheduling and Execution - The Art of Doing it Right the First Time

Robert P. Jackson, P.E.

Course Outline

This two ( 2 ) hour course is designed primarily for the engineering program manager who needs a rigorous system for tracking the progress of an ongoing engineering program. I stress engineering although it certainly can be used for other types of program endeavors. It is designed to be a template that allows for the addition and deletion of items, as needed, depending upon project complexity and duration.  The template is primarily structured for use when developing consumer products although it can be applied when the products are used by commercial establishments. OEM’s ( original equipment manufacturers ) have similar program needs, such as product assembly, product testing, quality determinations, life cycle testing, etc so, with slight modification, the template “fits” that type of program. I also know that this type of process has been applied to the development, “beta” testing and launch of software for consumer markets.  The process is more complex when the products are exported to foreign lands and have to meet standards developed in other countries.  This Engineering Program Management Schedule-Release Authorization ( EPMS-RA ) document is also adequate for ISO conformance and has been used to that end. 

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for program managers working in the fields of engineering, architecture and possibly computer programming.  It is also a viable way for an individual to gain knowledge so that he or she may some day become a program manager.  It is written specifically for the engineer and the architect but has been used on several occasions by program managers writing computer “code”.  The basic “backbone” may be altered to reflect a checklist for several disciplines during the program management process.  It was first used by engineers involved with providing consumer products to mass markets.  That is the reason there is reliability testing, ship testing and product builds throughout the management process.  If you were working with computer code, you would eliminate some elements of the EPMS-RA and substitute those with other elements more suitable for that discipline.

Benefit to Attendees

At one time or another we have all used a checklist, a yellow “sticky note”, a “to do “ list to help us remember those things that we absolutely need to accomplish that day, that week, that month.  I know people who have a twenty-year planner; and use it.  This course is designed to provide a template for program managers so that the chronology of events, during a program, may be addressed in a logical and systematic fashion.  The “operative” word here is systematic.  By the numbers.  We all know that creativity is sometimes the result of serendipity but program management is generally making is happen in an incremental fashion with nothing, nothing left out.  The most effective managers don’t forget anything, sometimes to the dismay of their team.  The EPMS-RA strives to be the checklist, most desired and the most relevant to program managers.

Course Introduction

Program management is critical for proper execution of any product development endeavor.  The potential confusion that could result from lack of planning represents a complete misuse of resources.  Efficiency goes out the window when we fail to plan or when our planning is incomplete, relative to the scope of the project.  We may sometimes feel that a “simple”, straightforward project requires less thought and planning than a complex multi-year development project.  Generally, the allocation of resources, both personnel and money, drive the planning process.  I am of the opinion that a project involving one person still requires careful thought, and it is definitely worth putting to paper.  I am not talking about spending countless hours planning a ten-minute job, but if the work can present options and require decisions, we need to do some minimal planning.  There is also a very real aspect to program management involving the authorization, usually from management, to move to the next step.  Successful completion of each task will drive that authorization and provide the necessary documentation usually required for decision-making.  If the representative from quality control is not satisfied with the results of the life cycle testing the decision to proceed to the next phase of the project may be affected.  The important thing is to have a project management methodology that will identify those areas of concern and allow for review by all parties required for authorizing an engineer to “ carry on “.  We all feel more comfortable when this authorization or “sign-off” is formal and in writing; hence the RA or Release Authorization part of the plan.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file:

Program Scheduling and Execution

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Course Summary

Program management is one of the most important functions in the modern day engineering or architectural office.   Programming and sequencing of events is paramount to completion and done in the properly, can avoid chaos and eliminate confusion.  There is no manager on the planet that enjoys “surprises” when managing a program.  We all love to see things go “buy the numbers” and even failures are more palatable if predictive.  Most managers have completed a program to find that important steps have been omitted or overlooked completely and scheduled for execution later.  The template presented in this course will lessen or eliminate the “ 3:00 A.M.” feeling that something is wrong.  It provides the “backbone” for a checklist, when amended as needed, can actually allow for scheduling of those significant event in the life of a program.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.