A Projects environment is full of uncertainties and poses the following challenges –
- Inability to create deterministic schedules
- Prevalence of multi-tasking of resources
- Excess Buffers
All of the above led to increase in the elapsed time of tasks and the projects thereby resulting in waste of time and resource capacity.
Our solution based on Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), invented by Dr. Goldratt, using The Theory of Constraints offers a feasible solution as it helps deliver results because of its unique ability to accommodate and manage uncertainties. We identify the Critical chain considering all the tasks involved in that project and project’s duration and calculate the due date based on that. In a multi-project environment with CCPM, instead of projects starting ASAP, the projects are released into the system based on the capacity of the most loaded resource. This helps in controlling the work in progress and the associated multi-tasking. Task deadlines are not used for monitoring projects; instead the projects are monitored based on the rate of buffer consumption.
This solution is used in Projects environment and is a tool for Project management for planning, execution and monitoring of Projects in a multi-project environment.
The solution components are built in the planning phase as well as the execution phase. The buffers are removed from the tasks and are placed at the intersection of the feeding path and the critical path and also at the end of critical path. This enables to reduce the project lead-time right at the planning phase. The task durations are made aggressive and seemingly unrealistic-with just 50% chances of it completing in the planned duration. With buffers removed from the tasks, the effect of two very common behaviors in Project Management- Student syndrome (leaving a lot of work until the last moment) and Parkinson’s Law effect (work expands to fill up the time allotted to it) are drastically minimized. WIP control, full kit, project plan, chains, tasks, subtasks, buffers and fever chart are few of the terminologies used in this solution.
CCPM solution provides visibility to top management about a project’s health as well as provides a facility of issue management. Within a short implementation time, the project lead times can come down to about 70% of the original lead-time and the overall throughput can go up by about 50 %. CCPM has been successfully implemented in many project organizations in India and worldwide.