Tidy Partner, Edward Fyvie, shares his ‘Top Tips’ for running a successful project. By using a good system that all stakeholders involved can easily adhere to. Edward talks about some features of our Tidy software which will help to track items and materials for different business projects and keep control of costs.
Effective project management is something that most regard as one of the ‘dark arts’, because so many companies, large and small, lose money on projects needlessly, and sometimes spectacularly.
See this article about 10 Construction Projects That Broke The Bank for big losers, old and new.
Dr W. Edwards Deming, regarded as the father of modern quality, created the concept of the PDCA Deming Wheel, in any process you need to, Plan -> Do -> Check -> Act (to correct deviations from plan). Repeat at short intervals until the process is finished. In everyday life we do this unconsciously. Before driving to work we Plan to arrive at work, we Do drive the car, we unconsciously Check the road, car dashboard and other traffic, and we Act to correct deviations from a safe path and speed.
With slower, longer-term processes such as an intense and detailed project, we need to do the same thing. How?
Complementing the PDCA principle is the Lean House concept. A lean organisation has four pillars supporting profitable growth: Safety, Quality, Delivery and Cost (SQDC). While executing PDCA, SQDC must be measured and published at each regular repeat of the cycle. Without these measures, the project will fall off a cliff. The four pillars must rest on a foundation of stability and standardisation. If not, a project can be doomed by the cross-eyed discus thrower principle ‘They seldom hit their targets, but they sure keep the crowd amused and on their toes!’
Note, cost is only a consequence of the first three. A project usually can’t be cost managed to profit. If any one of Safety, Quality and Delivery is substandard, cost suffers. Poor safety affects quality and delivery. Poor quality downgrades delivery performance. Conversely, a consistent delivery performance where safety and quality are performing well and consistently, will result in meeting the customer promise and ‘word of mouth’ marketing of your business.
Project management tools are also necessary. Conventional scheduling management tools such as Gantt charts are useful, however, a methodology known as Critical Chain Project Management CCPM (not critical path) is perhaps more useful. Normally, tasks are all individually padded with time safety buffers. These time pads are invisible, difficult to manage and are wasted. Critical chain reduces all task time estimates to a reasonable minimum and adds one buffer or safety pool task at the end of each critical chain of tasks. The buffer task makes it much easier to manage, and correct time overruns.
Project surveys have indicated CCPM-managed projects consistently finish on or ahead of schedule, compared with two-thirds of conventionally managed projects that finish late.
Add a safety pool task to the Tidy task list.