As a Theory of Constraints expert working in the Project Management, Production and the Supply Chain fields, I have found few software tools that help me create focus on the constraint in a business. LiquidPlanner is one of those tools, with its short learning curve and easy to understand analysis.
I am currently writing a book on some of the key reasons PM fails, called “Addicted to Hopium.” In this book, I talk about the DVA business model – Dependency, Variation, and Analysis – that drives an improvement process that becomes an entrenched routine. The DVA portion of this process fits nicely with LP.
According to a Gallup Business Journal article, 39% of projects fail due to lack of planning, resources, and activities
DVA attempts address these failures with DVA by insisting on collaboration of key resources that yields:
1. A focused Objective
2. Clear Metrics
3. An agreed upon network
4. Clearly defined tasks and resources
5. Capturing the Variation in the tasks
6. The generation of the Critical Chain, Constraint Resources, and Time Buffer
In this blog, I’ll concentrate on elements 3, 4 & 5
Everything is Connected. It’s difficult to deny that the work in the PM world is based on a network – a series of tasks that must be completed in a certain order to achieve a goal. Networks can be difficult to define and tougher to manage. With the consistently poor results we see in Project Management, efforts to improve accuracy are focused on local optimization – the managing of all links in the chain, not the weakest link.
Everything Varies. At least everything involved with running an organization. As with Dependency, this can be difficult to define and tougher to manage. To simplify the process, we ask for one number, like an average, as the answer. If we don’t get the answer we hope to get, change the numbers in the analysis until we do.
We need an Answer. Since Dependency and Variation are difficult to use as inputs to an analysis, many of the needed answers are provided by “intelligent guessing.” We rely on the experience of experts to give us these guesses, often at the project level. Most of these answers start with the precursor, “it depends”, with an explanation of why it depends, and how things need to go right in order to get that number. When the actual results don’t match the intelligent guess, the expert can go back to, “I told you that it would depend on a lot of things going right.” This is followed by an explanation of why something took longer than we hoped, or that someone didn’t deliver what was needed at the right time.
LiquidPlanner and DVA
Luckily, DVA is part of LiquidPlanner.
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