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EMGT 5120 Advanced Project Management Critical Chain – Chapter Summary Part 1: The problems with traditional project management Chapter 1: Genemodem needs to cut new product development time. Chapter 2: Nothing new has happened in project management since the major developments of PERT, CPM, and Monte-Carlo simulation in the 1960’s. Projects have essentially been managed the same way since then.Chapter 4: Much of what we do at work (or at home for that matter) can be classified as projects. The majority of projects fail to meet expectations on one or more of three areas: Scope of work, budget, and schedule. The majority of high-profile failures seem to be in the budget and schedule areas. Chapter 6: Most problems in projects can be traced back to uncertainty. The Gaussian (bell-shaped)curve is not a good model for project uncertainty. Project variables tend to have skewed distributions, and the Gaussian is a balanced distribution. The Gaussian is also infinite in extent in both directions, and this seems impractical for project management. Also, it is difficult to estimate the standard deviation for a task that is only going to be done once. Chapter 8: Collected data on actualprojects supports the idea that uncertainties lead to poor performance. Focusing on one area like cost usually comes at the expense of other areas, and actually reduced the economic performance of the project. This is an example of local optimization instead of global optimization. Chapter 9: Early start and late start scheduling are discussed. Early start schedules reduce the exposure to delays,but cause money and resources to be committed earlier than necessary, and make it difficult to focus on the tasks that are important. Late start schedules optimize the investment (spend money as late as possible) and let the project workers focus on what is really important, but then any delay will delay the entire project. Project progress is often non-linear because the emphasis is on reportingwhat has been done (percent complete) rather than what remains to be done. People want to show good progress so easier task are completed earlier which tends to leave difficult tasks for the end of the project, and those tasks are often underestimated. Chapter 10: Progress reporting should actually focus on the future rather than the past. It should generate the best estimate of work (time)remaining for each task given what has already been done and what is known. This would keep the focus on the critical path (or the new critical path if things have changed) rather than spreading the focus over the entire project (or the old critical path). Part 2: Theory of Constraints, and how it works in manufacturing Chapter 11: The theory of constraints (TOC) is discussed, and the fact that localoptimization does not necessarily lead to global optimization. Local optimization is only effective if it is applied to the bottleneck. Other forms of local optimization may have no impact, or even a negative impact if they reduce the output of the bottleneck. Chapter 12: The application of TOC in a steel mill is discussed, and the use of tons per hour as a production measurement. Set up time wasbeing held to a minimum to keep tons per hour at a maximum, but this was leading to high inventories and late customer orders. There was also a tendency to produce product that led to high tons per hour rather

tan those most needed by customers. This also lead to high inventories and poor customer service. Chapter 13: Estimators include a lot of safety in their estimates to be sure they haveabout a 90% likelihood of finishing on time. Bosses often add to this safety, but projects still finish late. Why? When tasks are in series, an early finish is often not taken advantage of because of Parkinson’s law: people tend to allow the work to expand to fill the available time. When tasks are in parallel, most early finishes cannot be taken advantage of because parallel task take longer....
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