Team-Based Approach in Project Management

Critical chain concept and why buffers are an important part of keeping the critical chain protected

Critical chain is a concept that is used to manage and plan projects, which majorly emphasizes on the various resources needed in the execution of project tasks. The concept differs from other conventional techniques, which results from PERTH algorithms, as well as critical path. The later concepts lay much emphasis on rigid scheduling, as well as task order. Through critical chain concept, resources will be levelly loaded.

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In addition, the resources are made to be flexible during the start of projects. Similarly, they are made to rapidly switch between task chains, as well as tasks in order to make sure that the entire project is executed as planned (Brown & Hyer, 2010). According to Goldratt (1997), critical chain concept looks at the human element, as well as the algorithmic procedure of project management. Through Critical Chain concept, projects are completed in shorter time in comparison to the conventional critical Path concept.

Buffers play major roles in monitoring the schedule of projects, as well as the project’s financial performance. Besides, buffers play a role in protecting due-date performance besides avoiding time wastage via poor multitasking as well as poorly co-ordinated integration (Herroelen & Leus, 2001).

Importance of Multitasking

A number of individuals always work within multi-project environments. It is therefore more common for individuals to discontinue working on given tasks in order to deal with other tasks in other projects. In a number of cases, multitasking results into reduced focus, as well as efficiency loss. A multi-tasking environment is, however, in some cases applicable in project management. Project managers are always charged with the responsibility of making sure that projects for customers are successfully accomplished. Customers may be within the firm or outside the firm and they are always demanding. They always need to see progress in their projects. It is worth noting that resources always tend to move between projects. This creates a multi-tasking environment (Leach, 1999).

There are benefits that are brought about by multitasking in project management. Resources are always used by multiple projects. Every project always competes for the time of resources. Multi-tasking is therefore significant in ensuring the use of resources by all projects. Therefore, through multi-tasking in project management, competing demand can effectively be accommodated. However, there is a need for project managers to make sure that there is no bad multitasking (Steyn, 2000).

Factors, as well as decisions, which should be taken into consideration while comparing trade-off and crash costs

Project managers are always faced with reducing project’s planned completion time in order to ensure that deadlines are met. The duration of projects may be reduced through assigning additional labour to the activities of the project.

This can be done by over-time work or through assigning additional resources like equipment or materials. Therefore, when deciding to minimize the time taken by projects, trade-off between cost and time has to be analyzed (Steyn, 2000). Project crashing is aimed at reducing the duration taken by projects through the reduction of time of the vital activities of the project. Object crashing is aimed at reducing project duration whereas reducing crashing costs (Goldratt, 2000).

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According to Meredith & Mantel (2000), there are certain factors and decisions that ought to be taken into consideration when in comparing crash costs, as well as trade-off. These include the financial penalties when the project is not completed in a timely manner, availability of resources and work force to complete the project in a short time, and the costs to be incurred in reducing the activity. The desired finishing date should also be born in mind (White & Fortune, 2002).

The possible project costs that need to be considered when analyzing a project trade off

Numerous costs should be considered in the analysis of project trade-off.

Some of the costs include total cost of the entire project, direct costs, as well as indirect costs. When the duration of projects shortened, direct costs are will be increased. Such include labour costs, costs of equipment, as well as the cost of materials. It should be pointed out that the time taken by activity duration may be minimized through a number of actions, which should be taken into consideration. The first one is the application of several shifts of work, long working hours, provision of incentives in the form of money in order to enhance productivity, making workers to work during the weekends, as well as holidays. The other ways includes the application of more resources, as well as making use of different techniques or sequence.

Direct Costs that should be taken into consideration include the costs of acquiring equipment, and acquiring materials, the costs of paying for labour, overtime, subcontractors, and freight. Indirect costs that should also be taken into consideration include the costs of insurance, the cost of security, supervision costs, other overheads, as well as interest charges and clerical costs (Steyn, 2002).

References

Brown, K. A., & Hyer, N. L. (2010). Managing projects: A team-based approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Goldratt E. M. (1997). Critical Chain. Great Barrington, MA, USA: North River Press.

Goldratt E. M. (2000). Theory of Constraints. Great Barrington, MA, USA: North River Press.

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Herroelen W., & Leus R. (2001). On the merits and pitfalls of critical chain scheduling. Journal Of Management, 19, 559-577.

Leach L. P. (1999). Critical chain project management improves project performance. Project Management Journal, 30(2), 39-51.

Meredith J. R., & Mantel S. J. Jr. (2000). Project Management: A Managerial Approach. New York, NY, USA: John Wiley & Sons.

Steyn H. (2000). An investigation into the fundamentals of critical chain project scheduling. International Journal of Project Management, 19, 363-369.

Steyn H. (2002). Project management applications of the theory of constraints beyond critical chain scheduling. International Journal of Project Management, 20, 75- 80.

White, D., & Fortune J. (2002). Current practice in project management: an empirical study. International Journal of Project Management, 20(1), 1-11.

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