Paul Grobler

About Paul Grobler

Paul Grobler fell into his first job by chance. A stroke of good fortune placed him in contact with a stranger who sent him to the right person at the right time. His first employer accepted him into a 4 year higher diploma course consisting of 6 months college and 6 months practical each of the 4 years. In 1983 he graduated with a certificate in Mechanical engineering and a higher diploma in Industrial Engineering. By 1989 he was the youngest Project Manager in Heavy Engineering and Construction in South Africa. He earned a Project Management diploma in 1990. He was the first person in Sub-Saharan Africa to qualify as a PSP from AACE in 2007. This qualification has lapsed due to his own stupidity, but will be earned again. Very early in his career, Paul earned a reputation of being the go-to guy to straighten out projects in trouble. He is known for being a gentleman, but one that you should not push. Straight dealings get the job done, but sometimes at a painful cost. Paul has been on a wide range of projects from water treatment to power stations, from breweries to oil refineries. The projects have all been multidiscipline, and have covered all project phases from conceptual to commissioned and operating, from being on the contractor’s team to being on the owner’s team. Paul’s 28+ years in Project and Construction planning and management has covered projects in 6 countries on 2 continents. For the last 4+ years he has been in deep Africa working on remote construction sites.

Productive Laziness

  This might sound a tad stupid, but I firmly believe we should all strive to be as Productively Lazy as possible.  In ALL aspects of our lives. If you just put some constructive thinking into your biggest time consumers, you could find ways to dramatically reduce the time you spend on them.  Initially it sounds impossible, but often, by doing less you can achieve more, or at least achieve the same amount much quicker. I swear I have not been smoking my socks, or anyone else’s for that matter. Most of you know what I’m talking about – Work Smarter Not Harder.  But what does that actually MEAN?  In simple terms it means find easier / quicker ways to do what needs to be done.  I don’t know about you, but I would be strongly in favour of finding a way to do a 2 day task in half a day.  Stop slogging harder to achieve more; rather figure a way to streamline your tasks to give you more time to deal with improving your lot in life.  Just think, if you could free up half a day (or 2 whole days) every week what would you do with it? Spend time with the family? Improve your current skills? Learn new skills? Get pampered at a day spa? Catch up with friends? Volunteer at a shelter / hospital / fire department? If you are the owner, you could find ways to improve your business.  If you are an employee, you could improve your position at the company or start your own company.  Don’t limit your options by thinking small. Interruptions are normally the biggest time wasters because, after the interruption is gone, there is

By |December 13th, 2011|Categories: Notes from the Field|0 Comments

Practical Progress Reporting

  Here in the real world of Contract Employees it is very common to arrive on a project when it is part-way through.  For those with experience in Planning and Scheduling, you’ll identify with my statement that getting the best out of your software is part art, part science.  It sucks to pick up on someone else’s planning work and try to figure out their mental processes to fully understand how their schedule operates.  But that’s a blog for another time. For this blog – There I was, new on the project, still feeling my way around the schedules and the people, and one of our main contractors presented me with an MS Project schedule that was worth less than toilet paper.   I’d had no time to familiarise myself with the history of the project, no real chance to understand the personalities I was dealing with, but enough time to know that my predecessor had left a mess and it was now MY job to clean it up and make it work. There was just not enough time available for me to ease into the system, and the shutdown was fast approaching, so I had to wade into the team members with my steel-toe boots and hope for the best.  I called a meeting to lay out my expectations, needs and boundaries regarding the planning and scheduling for the rest of the project.  The people I brought into this meeting were: Our construction manager Our 2 lead superintendants The construction managers of our main contractors The planners of our main contractors Our Client’s construction manager Our Client’s project manager Our Client’s planner Before calling the meeting, I briefly discussed my intention with my construction manager