Making a difference with Oracle Academy
The spotlight is on Associate Professor Tayyab Maqsood, Associate Dean of Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Formerly known as Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, RMIT is a global university of technology, design and enterprise.
Dr. Maqsood earned his PhD in the area of project management from RMIT University in 2006. His research interests include knowledge management, building information modeling (BIM), construction and demolition (C&D), waste management, post-disaster project management, project management issues in developing countries, and the integration of qualitative/quantitative risk management.
He leads project management discipline in the School of Property, Construction and Project Management, which offers a Master’s degree program, graduate certificates and diplomas in this field, as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science (Project Management, Honors). Maqsood is responsible for staff management and project management curriculum development.
Oracle Academy: How did you come to select Oracle Primavera P6 for your course?
Tayyab Maqsood: In 2000, I was working in Bangkok on construction projects and using Oracle Primavera Planner P6 for scheduling. Back then, P6 was considered the gold standard in many industries, and it still is. So, when I began teaching at RMIT, Primavera Planner P6 was the clear choice for teaching project scheduling. The goal is to make our students more competitive by increasing their employable skills.
We began using it in 2010. Hats off to Oracle Academy for making these resources free and available, because we are a nonprofit, government subsidized university, and it’s always a challenge to introduce such tools to our students. It’s a great and noble thing to do, and I trust that Oracle Academy will continue to develop and deliver project management learning resources.
Project management is vital in so many sectors, especially in an economic downturn where cost overruns and resource waste are no longer options.
Oracle Academy: Who are your students?
Tayyab Maqsood: We teach Primavera in both undergrad and postgrad project management programs. So, as far as I know, RMIT may be one of only a few or the only university in Australia to use P6 in its curriculum. I teach this in a postgrad course, and my colleague teaches it in the undergrad course.
Graduates are highly sought after across many booming sectors such as mining, engineering, construction – even in IT and events management – and skills in using P6 enhance their chances of employability.
Oracle Academy: How do you deliver the Primavera curriculum?
Tayyab Maqsood: Initially, Oracle Academy helped us install the system on our virtual platform and we blended the resources into our program. As of 2020, the revamped Oracle Academy P6 curriculum has helped enormously by streamlining the teaching process. From the learning point of view, resources are now broken down into easy, digestible sections in a well-structured flow. I really appreciate the efforts behind the development of these resources.
Oracle Academy: Do you use Primavera only for scheduling and planning?
Tayyab Maqsood: It doesn’t stop at scheduling, and in fact, there’s a worldwide emphasis on another area of project management, which is Risk-Based Scheduling. This is a comparatively new area, requiring skills in Schedule Risk Analysis. Whereas many project management tools have been around for over 50 years, the first literature on Schedule Risk Analysis appeared only in 2009. There’s a lot of capacity in the market for this discipline. More and more organizations are starting to use it across all industries. We are going to see risk-based scheduling and planning become much more important, and that’s an area I am developing in RMIT.
Oracle Academy: What tools are you using for Schedule Risk Analysis?
Tayyab Maqsood: I use Primavera Risk Analysis. This module, available to us as part of our Oracle Academy Institutional membership, is a full lifecycle quantitative risk analytics solution that overlays risks on a project schedule.
Therefore, we use Primavera Planner P6 and Primavera Risk Analysis in a complementary way. Once again, I wanted my students to be ahead of the pack, know these tools and the underlying theory, and use them in their projects. Recently, Oracle has integrated the functionality of P6 and Primavera Risk Analysis in a new product, Oracle Primavera Cloud, for integrated project and portfolio planning and scheduling. I will be making a transition to teaching it very soon.
Oracle Academy: What sort of projects do you assign students?
Tayyab Maqsood: Students work on commercial projects as well as residential projects. The whole idea is to make sure that projects have a realistic schedule. Most projects finish late. One contributing factor is that the risks are not identified, managed and overlaid on the project schedule. Primavera Risk Analysis helps planners develop a reliable estimate that will help projects to finish on a stipulated date.
My wish is that Oracle Academy will deliver the same type of resources and curriculum for Primavera Risk Analysis as for Primavera Planner P6, so that we can integrate the two.
Oracle Academy: How are the job opportunities in Australia?
Tayyab Maqsood: Demand for these skills is high and getting higher. Graduates are highly sought after in a wide variety of construction and engineering sectors. Companies are impressed when they see P6 on a student’s resumé, because they are not expecting it.
Knowledge of schedule risk analysis also makes them competitive against other students. In today’s world, there’s no more room for mistakes and wasted resources. Projects have to finish on time. That means that graduates with risk-based scheduling and planning skills will find it easy to find work.
We don’t have an internship model, but we run a successful Employer of Choice Program, which provides direct connections to more than 250 industry partners and employers. These employers effectively have first pick of our graduates.
Oracle Academy: Finally, how do you unwind from the cares of teaching?
Tayyab Maqsood: Teaching is a passion, and I also contribute to a number of research papers and projects. Outside of RMIT, I have a wife and three children, and I used to be a gym junkie in my younger days and an ardent fan of cricket. But recently I have developed a newfound passion for cycling. So, when there’s no cricket on, you will find me out and about in the Garden State on my bike!
Thank you, Dr. Tayyab Maqsood, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing your students to make a positive impact.