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Newsletter - Sept 2012

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PM Essence
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PM Essence
Q. Who developed critical chain project management (CCPM) and what is its key advantage?

A. A. Critical Chain Project Management is based on methods and algorithms derived from Theory of Constraints or TOC. In 1997 Eliyahu M. Goldratt introduced this seminal concept in his book, Critical Chain. Application of CCPM has been credited with achieving projects 10% to 50% faster and/or cheaper than the traditional methods (i.e. CPM, PERT, Gantt, etc.) developed from 1910 to 1950s.

[source – Internet]

The Lighter Side of PM
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PM Essence

Miss Management

Member, PMI Bangalore Chapter

An ubiquitous presence seen in almost every office is that of the lady named in the caption, and we thought it our duty to warn the readers of the sinister designs of this deceptively attractive, shy young damsel, who has the looks of an angel - but, let us warn you, dear readers, the heart of a devil. We do not know how she entered the office - possibly she used the proximity of her close relationship with Mr. Management, but the latter is sure some day to rue the moment she set her foot in the office. Though he has not realized it as yet, bowled over as he is by her seductive charms, the fact is that he has not had any happy experience ever since Miss Management stepped in. Though she was not able to do much damage with her close friend Miss Take, she and her gang of other allies consisting of Miss Lead, Miss Information, Miss Direction, Miss Quote and Miss Calculation almost succeeded in getting

Mr. Management to land on the doorstep of Miss Judgement. Fortunately he was saved in time, and her five friends were banished from the office.

However, this was not to last long. Miss Management now introduced to Mr. Management even more dangerous friends Miss Behavior, Miss Conduct, and Miss Deed, who in turn caused him to indulge in Miss Rule, Miss Chance and Miss Adventure as well, with even more disastrous results he ended up courting Miss Hap instead.

We understand that she has her next plan also ready. With the help of another friend Miss Chief, she is reported to be plotting his downfall by bringing Miss Fortune to him.

We would like to save Mr. Management somehow. Any ideas as to how to make him get rid of her say, by getting her married off to someone?

missmgt (Editor's Note: The warning, though received from a source who wanted to remain anonymous, is timely. We must confess we ourselves came very close to falling a prey to the evil designs of this wily young woman who almost succeeded in preventing this exposure of her nefarious activities from appearing in print. She tried to ensure that it was not available when we searched for it we understand that she was aided and abetted in this plan by her first cousin and wilful partner in crime, Miss Placement.)

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PM Essence
Evolution of Scheduling Methods

M. S. Hiremath, PMP
CPM Technique - The first scheduling technique is Critical Path Method. CPM calculates the completion date of the project, using one-time estimate of tasks. Critical Path is defined as the longest path made up of dependent activities.

Ex:- a house will be completed by a certain date say 1-12-2012.( i.e., no tolerance)

CPM scheduling is also known as deterministic scheduling.

PERT Technique - PERT stands for Program Evaluation Review Technique. It is a probabilistic scheduling technique. Here we use a three time estimate i,e Pessimistic, Most likely and Optimistic for each task of the project, and the longest path i.e. critical path is arrived at. This is the PERT duration of the project. According to statistics, there is only 50% confidence in completing the project in the PERT calculated duration. In the case PERT, we say, a house will be completed by a certain date (say 1 Jan 2013), with a tolerance of say one or two standard deviations. We can say the house will be built by 1 Jan 2013, within a range of +/- ONE standard deviation. We also mention a CONFIDENCE LEVEL associated with this range say, 68% confidence level. If we consider one standard deviation as 15 days, then confidence level of 68% would mean the following, If we make 100 houses using this plan, 68 houses would be built by 1 Jan 2013 within +/- 15 days (i.e. between 17 Dec 2012 & 16 Jan 2013). This sounds more realistic!

CCPM Technique - The latest is the Critical Chain Project Management Method(CCPM), addressing behavioral science of resources involving the following :

1. Law of Parkinson (Work expands to allotted time)
2. Student Syndrome (Team members resorting to last minute rush 'Procrastination is the name of the game')
3. Multi-tasking (Lose-lose situations)

Critical Chain is defined as the longest sequence (Timewise) of dependent activities either of resources or of the path taking into account the availability of resources.It is a resource constrained schedule. In addition to technical dependencies, CCPM considers resource dependencies. It makes use of buffer to protect the project deadline.
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PM Essence
It is all About Making Things Happen...

Amar Bhaskar, PMP
I am sure all of you at some point in time have experienced the joy of successful execution. Recall those celebrations when everything fell in place, and at the end everyone said WoW! That was a terrific project!

While we talk about rejoicing when things go well, we also have situations in projects where everyone is waiting for it to get over and heave a sigh of relief when done. I am sure every one of us in this fascinating world of project management professionals will remember our first project when we played the role as a project manager. I remember the nervous feeling I had and the thoughts that kept coming to my mind, I will be held responsible if things don't go well and the first time feeling of loneliness. Some of us are fortunate to have seniors by our side, who keep pushing to go ahead “be bold take the decision we are here to help you get there!” That one sentence is a big influencing factor and creates a positive momentum in the environment good enough to pump up a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm to get you going. You can now ponder over what could make that winning difference.

The most thrilling piece in project manager as we all know: “It is all about making things happen…” If one peels this to know what goes into making things happen, in simple terms it is about meticulous planning and flawless execution. The words planning and execution processes are all known to everybody in this profession and is no big deal for anyone. The key qualifiers in front of those words 'meticulous' and 'flawless' describing how good those processes were deployed in the project make a whole lot of difference. Several great organizations have been successful not just because they had the right strategy; they also had the right level of expertise to plan meticulously and execute flawlessly and get things done way ahead of others. Meticulous planning and flawless execution have good correlation to the level of details and how sound project information management has been deployed for decision support. Here are 3 tips that I learnt from my coach to plan and execute better:

Tip 1: “Poke your plan” to check how robust your plan is. Easier said than done! You need to know where to poke in those weak areas.many times they are left unplanned for want of details. However mark them to subsequently work on detailing them as you progress forward.

Tip 2: “Drive with anticipation” to check on items of uncertainty. There are several things that may not happen as expected and derail your project. Often such items get buried as the project advances and remain latent, only to spring a surpriselater. This is similar to applying the cautious driving techniques when you are climbing up/down winding hill roads.

Tip 3: “Measure from completion” to check on what else needs to be completed. Often we get carried away and measuring all that has been accomplished. Completion of milestones is a good motivating factor in the project environment and should be celebrated. In practice this would help control project better and avoid procrastination.

Implementing these tips in your regular practice would certainly develop your project maneuvering skills to a great extent and help in delivering a much superior project outcome and also enhance your professional excellence in making things happen...