Execution Management 02: Three ways time gets wasted during project execution 

09/15/2008


In the last Execution Management Minute , we established that managers must focus on time efficiency rather than resource efficiency in projects. A natural question is, “How can we squeeze projects for time when it is difficult to meet even current timelines in projects?”
After all, projects are riddled with uncertainties. Work usually takes longer than estimated; technical issues materialize; vendors don’t deliver on time; approvals get held up; resources are not available as promised. No matter how painstakingly you plan, in execution you will have surprises!
But a closer look reveals that rather than uncertainties themselves being the main culprit behind project delays and overruns, the major problem is in how we manage these uncertainties.
Management mistake No. 1: Starting projects ASAP .
Since project managers recognize that not getting resources in a timely manner is a major problem, they compete aggressively for shared resources. They start a project as soon as possible, hoping that it will maximize their chances of securing the needed resources. In reality, the consequence is the exact opposite. Resources become thinly spread, queues increase, and projects take much longer than they should.
Management mistake No. 2: Treating planning estimates as execution commitments.
This flawed practice means estimates must include safety time to account for the high uncertainty in projects. Project plans get longer yet managers are willing to pay this price to ensure that projects will finish on time. Unfortunately, in execution, while most tasks finish on time, almost none of the tasks finish early. This phenomenon of work expanding to fill the time available is called Parkinson’s Law. To compound, some tasks still take longer than planned, causing the entire project to be still late! Bottom line: Local commitments only prolong the project plan without significantly increasing on-time delivery.
Management mistake No. 3: Lacking good task-level priorities in execution.
Not knowing which tasks to work on when, resources get pulled in divergent directions. Project managers add to the confusion by pressuring the resources to start working on their project’s tasks without worrying about the impact on other’s project tasks. Rather than helping all projects make progress, assigning resources in this way actually causes all projects to become stalled.


Our experience with more than 200 project-based organizations is that 20 percent to 50 percent of the time and capacity involving projects is wasted due to traditional management practices.
But this can change. Managers no longer need to feel stymied by traditional practices. The Critical Chain method provides new, effective rules of managing project execution. And that will be the topic of our next Execution Management Minute .
As a recipient of the Franz Edelman award and Chief of Staff Team Excellence award for its work with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Realization has helped more than 200 organizations throughout the world increase speed and efficiency in new product development; engineer-to-order manufacturing; construction; maintenance, repair and overhaul; and other project-based operations. Learn more now .





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Getting ready for industrial IoT; Visualizing the (applied) automation continuum; Preventing VFD faults and failures; Using wireless for closed-loop applications
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.