A planning practitioner’s reflections on managing complex scheduling challenges

Bailey, Philip George (2016) A planning practitioner’s reflections on managing complex scheduling challenges. [Doctorate by Public Works]

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Abstract

This work represents the reflection-on-action of a planning practitioner from the field of aircraft manufacturing who manages between 40 and 50 planners at any one time and who has influenced the development of many others over the last twenty years. This is an industry of considerable scale and complexity that requires an appropriately positioned planning and scheduling response. From the perspective of the head of planning (Wings), the key impact on the practice reflected upon here is on the integrated positioning of planning into a critical community (a centre of competence), where the roles and the interaction provide an appreciative framework for planners to give of their best. The four core themes explored in this work start with the way of working embedded in an integrated planning approach to enable a route into the wider organisation and how the tasks become clarified in this setting in terms of scope; how a cross-team supportive approach is established; how role gaps are anticipated; and how retaining and using experience is thought about, while reinforcing appreciation through continuous improvement activity and professionally maintaining the pool of planners. An integrated approach then supports the spread, sharing, development, accessibility and application of knowledge in more resourceful and relevant ways than if the approach was task-orientated, boundaried and transactional. This is illustrated by examples of why learning curves matter and how they may be interpreted for impact, and why using governance templates to clearly capture planning outcomes is so important. Examples of tools are given that both support and emerge from an integrated planning approach: cardinal rules, red reports, plan-on-a-page and sign-off packs that can secure a professional planning input. All of the above are positioned in an understanding of how complexity builds up during the phases of a major aircraft development programme, before maturing to the series build phase that follows a launch. This critical engagement places these themes in context within both practice and related literature. These reflections have the potential to enrich the body of knowledge in this field, as the role perspectives currently in the public domain are either based on only one or two launch cycles, at best, or have the limitation of only part of the five to seven years it takes to deliver a new aeroplane, from drawing board to market. This reflection-on–action is based on multiple cycles, giving a wider perspective over a longer time. I propose that this exploration into complex planning has the potential to effect significant change in the professional role of a planning practitioner. It does so through recontextualising the planner’s role as both facilitating articulation between different stakeholders and developing a range of practical products and tools that structure and delineate how this re-conception of the planning role operates in complex environments. Of key importance to this is the value of ongoing critical reflection of the role as a form of leadership, based on indicators of trust being maintained.

Item Type: Doctorate by Public Works
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Doctorates by Public Works
Item ID: 18771
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 13:38
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 22:13
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/18771

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