Manufacturing Breakthrough Blog

Project Management Fever

Friday January 29, 2016

Review

In my last post I explained how projects are tracked using Critical Chaing Project Management's (CCPM) fever chart. The fever chart has three different zones, green, yellow and red with different action rules.   In today’s post we will complete our discussion on Project Management the TOC way.

Critical Chain Project Management

In my last post, I introduced you to something called a fever chart, used to track the status of an individual project.  CCPM also provides a portfolio view of the fever chart that tells us the real time status of all projects in the system.

Fever Chart Example

The figure above is an example of this view and one can see at a glance that 4 of the projects (Projects 1, 4, 5 and 6) need immediate attention (they are in the red zone), 1 project (Project 3) needs a plan developed to reduce the rate of buffer consumption (yellow zone) and 2 (Projects 2 and 7) are progressing nicely (in the green zone).

In addition to using the fever chart, I also recommend calculating a project index by dividing the % of critical chain completed into the % of the project buffer consumed.  As long as this ratio is 1.0 or less, then the project will come in on-time or early. In our example this ration would be 55% divided by 40% or 0.727.  This ratio says that this project is progressing nicely with no concern for the project being late.

The net effect of CCPM will be a significant decrease in cycle time with a corresponding increase in the throughput rate of completed projects using the same level of resources.  In fact, it is not unusual for project cycle times to be reduced by as much as 40 to 50%!

These cycle time reductions and throughput increases translate directly into improved on-time delivery of projects as well as significant revenue increases.The key to success using CCPM revolves around utilization of the true subject matter experts (SME’s).  That is, by developing a core team comprised of 70-80% employees actually executing projects (i.e. SME’s) and permitting them to develop the ultimate design solution, the resulting implementation will be owned by the people performing the work.  This ownership translates directly into making sure the solution will work.  Without this level of involvement and approval authority to develop the applied action plans, CCPM will simply not be successful.

Another key to successful project management application is a series of regular meetings intended to escalate and resolve any problems that surface during the project execution.  These meetings include daily “walk-arounds” by the Project Manager with the actual SME’s to determine the progress of the project so that problems can be surfaced and escalated to higher levels of leadership if the Project Manager cannot resolve them him or herself.

In addition, I also recommend that each week there must be what is referred to as an Operation’s Review in which each individual project is reviewed for progress by the leadership team.  And again, if problems and issues need to be escalated to keep the project on schedule, leadership must play this vital role.

In my experiences with companies using project management, the leadership has always been astounded with the change in performance when converting from CPM to CCPM.  It is not unusual for project times to be reduced by 50 % and project success rates to exceed 95% with success being defined as projects delivered on time, on scope and on budget.

 

Next Time

In my next post we’ll be discussing a new performance improvement subject.  As always, if you have any questions or comments about any of my posts, leave me a message and I will respond. 

Until next time.

Bob Sproull

 

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