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Theory of Constraints and Project Management: Challenging the Dominant Paradigm
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Theory of Constraints and Project Management: Challenging the Dominant Paradigm


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    • 1. Theory of Constraints and Project Management: Challenging the Dominant Paradigm Bob Donaldson, VP Strategy, McElroy Translation Company
    • 2. Setting the Stage: Technology Pressures
      • CMS/TMS Integration
        • Automates Localization Project Initiation
        • Impact on Capacity Planning?
      • Translation Memory & Advanced Leverage Tools
        • Improves Translation Reuse
        • Impact on Translator Involvement?
      • Collaborative Working Models & Environments
        • Enables More Parallelism
        • Impact on Quality Control?
      • Machine Translation Integration
        • Improves Translator Productivity
        • Impact on Business Model?
    • 3. Typical Project Problems Source: National survey conducted by The Standish Group Until it's too late No reliable way to measure project status Epidemic Day-to-day chaos & frustrations 30% of projects Canceled before finished 70% of projects Fall short of planned technical content By 189%
        • Over budget
      Only 44% of all projects finish on schedule or before.  The rest tend to be very late.  On average, projects are 222% longer than planned.
          • Late
      Survey Results (1998)* Challenges & Symptoms
    • 4. Project or Standard Services or Life Cycle?
      • Localization Project
        • Historical Usage
        • Describes Initial Localization of Legacy Material
        • Implies Unique Set of Goals, Tasks, Challenges
      • Localization Life Cycle
        • Standard Component of Product/Content Development
        • Better Describes Buyer Viewpoint
        • Implies Regularity & Repetition
      • Localization Services
        • Standard Tools, Processes & Deliverables
        • Better Describes Vendor Viewpoint
        • Implies Global Perspective on Multi-Project Management
    • 5. Service Delivery Challenges
      • Service delivery depends upon people who …
        • Do not always work at the same rate
        • Do not always communicate effectively
        • Constitute a capacity constraint
      • Customer satisfaction depends upon …
        • Service Quality  standard processes
        • Service Responsiveness  flexible processes
        • Management intervention to adjust priorities
      • Suboptimal processes & metrics often create
        • Interdepartmental friction
        • An environment of chaos
    • 6. Dilbert’s Perspective on Coordination
    • 7. Service Delivery Dilemma GOAL: Become a Good Service Company Source: TOC Resultants: Maintain Consistent Quality Meet Timeliness Expectations Work to Standard Processes Work Flexibly
    • 8. PMBOK – The Current Standard
      • Initiating
        • Sponsorship, Project Goals, etc.
      • Planning
        • Schedule, Budget, Resource Allocation, etc.
      • Executing
        • Monitoring, Problem Resolution, QA, etc.
      • Controlling
        • Performance/Risk Reporting, Forecasting, etc.
      • Closing
        • Delivery, Lessons Learned, etc.
    • 9. Why Projects Fail
      • The Dilbert Principle:
          • “ Anything I don’t understand must be easy.”
      Do we really understand the difference between project management & project monitoring ?
    • 10. Typical Project Plan Note the illusion of certainty! Critical Path Local ‘Safety Time’ Embedded Throughout
    • 11. Typical Plan w/Resource Leveling Illusion of certainty remains Critical Path Local ‘Safety Time’ Embedded Throughout Resource Contention
    • 12. Multi-Project [Standard Services] Issues Actual Performance? Early Late Expected Performance Early Late ……
    • 13. Parkinson’s Law 1 C. Northcote Parkinson; The Economist, Nov. 1955 Work expands to fill the time available for its completion 1 The root problem is “Safety” time!
    • 14. Implications for Project Execution
      • Resources scheduled to maximize utilization
      • Late completion is penalized (obviously)
        • So local safety time expands
      • Early completion is also penalized
        • “ Excess” capacity invites more work
        • Utilization is often part of performance reviews
        • Credibility of estimates may be in question
      • On-time delivery is placed at risk
        • Current ‘on time’ status not indicative of risk
        • Time ‘saved’ by early completion is typically wasted
        • Time ‘lost’ by late completion cascades to subsequent tasks (and projects!)
    • 15. Dilbert’s Perspective on Project Status
    • 16. Theory of Constraints – Focus on Throughput Identify Exploit Subordinate Elevate Evaluate Strategic (Corporate) Loop Tactical (Project) Loop
    • 17. Tactical Constraints – Single Project
      • Goal is to deliver project benefit as quickly as possible
      • Effective project management involves
        • Identifying the critical chain of tasks that are constraining the project’s completion
        • Exploiting potential capacity constraints through effective scheduling
        • Subordinating non-critical tasks & Controlling uncertainty through buffer management
      • Focus on throughput not utilization
    • 18. Theory of Constraints in PMBOK Context
      • Initiating
      • Planning
        • Critical Chain Schedule (vs. Critical Path)
      • Executing
        • Maximize Throughput (vs. Utilization)
      • Controlling
        • Buffer Management (vs. Task Completion)
      • Closing
    • 19. Back to our Familiar Project Plan Critical Path
    • 20. Critical Chain Plan w/Buffers Critical Chain
    • 21. Critical Chain Plan w/Buffers Gating Buffer Constraint Buffers Feeding Buffer Project Buffer Critical Chain
    • 22. Typical Resource Utilization Plan Adjusted by removing “safety” time …
    • 23. The Roadrunner … Sprint Capacity Roadrunners have two speeds … Stopped (but ready for action) and Fast !
    • 24. Roadrunner Advantages
      • Working to capacity per schedule generates throughput
      • Not working ahead protects throughput by
        • Preserving “sprint capacity”
        • Avoiding unnecessary work
        • Reducing work in progress
      • It’s all about throughput !
    • 25. Strategic Constraints
      • Goal is to maximize organizational throughput
      • “Hard” Constraints
        • Resource Capacity
        • Infrastructure Capacity
      • “Soft” Constraints
        • Existing Policies
        • Existing Performance Metrics
    • 26. A Few Words on Metrics
      • Typical metrics are cost-centric
        • Resource utilization levels
        • Task duration & on-time completion
        • Project cost & on-time delivery
      • We need throughput-centric metrics
        • $’s of throughput per unit of time
        • $-days of buffer consumption
        • $-days of work in progress
    • 27. Performance Metrics w/Buffers Source: Throughput Dollar Days Late Throughput Dollar Days Late Near-the-end Middle Beginning End Track Feeding Buffer End Time 0  Buffer Checking Time Constraint Buffer End Time 0  Buffer Checking Time Tracking Zone
    • 28. Resolving the Dilemma GOAL: Become a Good Service Company Maintain Consistent Quality Meet Timeliness Expectations Constraint Management Buffer Management Throughput Oriented Metrics
    • 29. Summary
      • Identify the Constraint
        • Select the best leverage point
      • Exploit the Constraint
        • Maximize throughput with system schedule
        • Protect throughput with project buffers
      • Subordinate everything else to the Constraint
        • Beware of legacy performance metrics
        • Provide for “Roadrunner” responses
      • Elevate the Constraint
        • Address capacity or productivity limits
      • Repeat!
    • 30. Further Reading
      • A Guide to Implementing the Theory of Constraints (TOC). Dr. K. J. Youngman.
      • Any book by Eliyahu Goldratt …
      • TOC Resultants –
    • 31. Contact Details
      • Bob Donaldson
      • VP Strategy
      • McElroy Translation Company
      • 910 West Avenue
      • Austin, TX 78701
      • +1 (512) 472-6753
      • [email_address]