Theory of Constraints Project Management - A Brief Introduction to the Basics
When one thinks of project environments, they mainly think of construction, engineering, technology development, and telecommunications. But, more than ever non-traditional project environments expect their managers to be capable of managing projects and programs. Why?
Execution – the ability toexecute to plan - is essential to creating competitive advantage. More than ever, to execute to plan is to properly manage the TIME value of money and resources.
In many for-cause organizations, the key to continued support of its benefactors is the stewardship of funds leading to the successful completion of projects that are of enduring value to society.
Whether your organizationmanages stand-alone or multiple projects, whether those projects are small or large, whether your customers are internal or external, or whether the nature of the work performed is product development, construction, design, IT, or service; most projects are difficult to manage because of two things:
1. They involve uncertainty, and
2. They involve three different and opposing commitments: duedate, budget, and content
In organizations that attempt to manage multiple concurrent projects with common, shared resources, the job is even more challenging. Managers can quickly find themselves on “project overload” with continual resource shortages and great difficulty in determining which tasks are truly the most important.
If this is beginning to sound familiar, then you are probablyexperiencing some of these problems in your organization:
• There are difficulties completing projects on time, within budget and with full content.
• There is too much rework activity.
• Promised lead times are longer than desired.
• Existing project work is not complete before new projects require a shifting in priorities.
• Project Managers and Resource Managers have frequentconflicts about priorities and resource commitments.
• Problems in one project cascade into problems in other projects.
• Some projects are abandoned or completed without the organization gaining the promised benefit.
• The organization is too slow responding to important opportunities.
This paper provides a brief introduction into the basics of TOC Project Management, showing howthe solution addresses the underlying root causes of the problems listed above. It is organized in the context of answering three very important questions:
1. “What To Change?”
2. “To What To Change?”
3. “How To Cause The Change?”
The Main Roots - Identifying "What to Change?"
In order to make significant and lasting improvements in the way projects are managed, an organization musteffectively address the underlying root causes that lead to the above problems.
The dominant root cause in organizations performing multiple projects with shared resources is the unavoidable conflict about when to begin new project work. In almost every organization, there are continual internal and external pressures to address important new opportunities. At the same time, managers recognizethat beginning new work too soon may divert needed resources from ongoing project work, compromising their ability to meet existing commitments. Unfortunately, with imperfect knowledge of the true status of current project work, ongoing pressures to increase the organization’s output, and a belief that delaying a project’s start will only serve to delay it’s finish, managers all too frequently makedecisions that overload the organization.
The root cause that dominates the execution of individual projects is a planning and scheduling process that is based on several erroneous assumptions. One such assumption is the widespread belief that placing protection time in every task will lead to optimized project performance – that good individual task performance will inherently lead to good...
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