A few weeks ago I wrote about how the Scottish Government had (in my opinion) got the solution to public sector planning badly wrong. (Local Authority Planning - How the government and the lean gurus got it wrong.) They had thought that the matter was merely about getting cases in clean. Whilst this is an issue (for most organisations) it’s really only the tip of the planning iceberg when it comes to making a change.
You see simply putting in a pre-application process actually means that for some, they are now looking at the application twice and therefore have more (not less) work to do.
The pre-app is important but so is the method by which it’s carried out. I believe the that government’s intent was to simply have a quick meeting or phone call prior to application being sent in, to make sure everything was fit for purpose. But that doesn’t seem to be the way it’s working. I’d be keen to hear from you if you either support or have an alternative view of our findings.
However the pre-app isn’t really the big problem. As I’ve blogged about before, the issue is the performance indicators combined with the volume of work pushed to the planners. As they (the planning officers) are trying their best to do a bit of work on all the cases in their queue, what actually happens is that everything takes longer. Some planners have openly told me that if an application goes over the statutory indicator they leave it, it’s already late so they’re better concentrating on the ones that they can get through in time.
The result of this is that two people suffer: the customer, who may have to wait an inordinate amount of time to get a decision and the planner, who is under a great deal of stress to do a ‘bit of everything’.
The fault lies not with the planners but with the government and management who refuse to see that setting an arbitrary target, pushing work to the planners and focusing on utilising and activity rather than throughput has actually made the system worse.
So what’s the answer? Dougal Mather one of our project experts in Vanguard (Scotland) has written a comprehensive report and made a video that lays out exactly what you need to do to fix the problem.
If you are in local authority planning, grants distribution, information technology, pharmaceutical, roads resurfacing or any other project environment, stop what you are doing and put the kettle on because the information contained in this blog could be the most important you will ever get your hands on.
At the latter part of last year I was asked to speak to the great and the good in Scottish local authority planning. The purpose was to give my thoughts on how to change planning for the better. The advice was simple and unequivocal ‘get knowledge about how the system works before you make a change.’
I guess I must have been having an off-day because for whatever reason many went off and ignored this advice and missed a big trick in planning. I’ve studied planning departments at the tail end of the lean gurus as well; they also failed to see the answer.
So stay tuned as I’m about to reveal all. And if you are one of the few that will actually go away and do something as a result of reading this blog you will see results very fast.
Here’s what happened in planning. The boffins decided that the problem was a lack of clean information coming into planning departments. This resulted in plans being sent back to the client or agent for rework. Fair enough, if you studied planning as a system you would indeed find that around 20% of applications have missing information.
The result of this revelation was two actions, the first was to create a detailed specification of how the plans should be drawn up with a list of required information and the second was for all proposals to be subject to a pre-application meeting between the client and/or agent and the planner. Both of these rules have now been embedded in the system.
But nothing much seems to have changed. The authorities I’ve seen are still struggling to meet their performance indicators and the planners are drowning in a sea of work, even more so now that they have to have pre-application meetings. So why didn’t the solution work?
The answer was simply incomplete, in-fact it only dealt with one small aspect of the overall problem, akin to trying to lose a ton of weight by replacing your mid morning bacon butties with an apple, sure it will help a little, but you’re not going to see a significant change.
Let me lay out the real problem (actually there are two). The first is that in the planning departments I’ve seen there are simply too many open cases; the planners are flooded with work. This happens as a result of wanting to tell a client that their case has been seen. But it causes a big problem, multi-tasking.
What happens is that in an effort to get more done everything takes longer and the lack of focus causes errors. Think of it like this, imagine you have 10 tasks to do and you try to do a little of everything. The result is that you are constantly picking up and putting down the tasks. Every time you pick something up you have to take a moment just to remember where you were before you can start again. Consequently everything takes longer and is more likely to include mistakes.
The second issue exacerbates the first. Misguided ministers and managers believe that we need service standards to improve our performance. But if they knew how to look they would see that it’s making us worse not better.
In planning there is a 56 day service standard to give a decision on an application. And the clock doesn’t start ticking until the application is error free. Some planners have told me that, because they have so much work to do and there is pressure to hit the arbitrary 56 day standard, applications ping-pong back and forth until they are fit to enter the process.
And when the application is in the process the 56 day service standard causes student syndrome. Cases get opened and then put down again until nearer the deadline, just like a difficult essay. Planners flip-flop between handling easy cases to hit that standard and trying to break the backlog of the more complex ones. Sometimes an application goes over the 56 days and it gets left, the rationale being that service standard is breached anyway so it doesn’t matter if the case takes 56 days or 256 days, either way it’s late.
So what can be done to fix the problems?
Create a list of all planning applications in date order, oldest to earliest.
Create two schedules, the first for pre-applications and the second for determinations.
Schedule the work for the technical clerks and the planners.
Limit the release of work into the flow. Only allow planners and tech clerks to work on only a few cases at a time.
Keep the service standard away from the planner; better still remove it all together.
Create a new rule, work on the case until it’s finished, do it as fast as you can but do it right.
Have a system so that the manager’s job is to help the planner if they get blocked.
If a case is not in the flow then it’s not open. This will give you visibility over the exact size of your backlog (which will soon disappear).
But before I’ve even posted this blog, I can hear the objections.
‘Our customers will be furious that we haven’t looked at their case’- not as angry as when you tell them that you’ve looked at it umpteen times and it’s still not complete.
‘I can handle lots of cases at one time’- not if you’re a human you can’t.
‘Our planners need the service standard to motivate them’- get real!
The problems I’ve discussed here are not restricted to planning. They happen in the distribution of grants, information technology, pharmaceutical, roads resurfacing or any other project environment.
To gauge if you are in a project environment have a look at the touch time of the work, if it is high in relation to the throughput time then it’s likely the above rules will apply to you.
For more information on this subject, check out our free videocast made by Daniel Rodgers and Dougal Mather of Vanguard Scotland.
And finally I think there is a bigger lesson here than just planning, it’s the one I urged the government to take. “Before you make a change get knowledge”. If you do you will see the whole problem and create a complete solution.
(A story of cold sausages, a string quartet and climate change protestors)
I was in London last week with some friends. On Friday morning we were sitting in a restaurant having breakfast. Then my blackberry went ballistic; message after message telling me that the link to the free guide on presenting data wasn’t working. And to make matters worse the team in the office didn’t have the PDF of the guide, so they couldn’t help.
Big problem, you see we use a web hosting company in the US and their system was down. So the first thing I did was to drop my fork and knife and ping a note back to everyone to let them know we were trying to resolve the situation.
Eventually I tracked down one of the team (who was on holiday) who had a copy of the guide (for who didn’t manage to pick it up click here) and we got it sent again as an attachment. And I as I chewed my way through my, now freezing cold, bacon and eggs I pondered the messages.
Trust is fleeting. It doesn’t really matter how much good you think you’ve done it can all go pear shaped in a moment.
Reliability is king. I continually hear people moaning that things are tough in the current climate. So you have to make the most of every opportunity. This is the same in the public sector, if you don’t keep your promises you get hit with failure demand, the cost to me was a cold breakfast, what would it be for you? So make sure every process delivers.
Knowledge will save the day. Stuff happens, things go wrong, I get that. But the key is to know the predictable nature of the failure. Is it a one off or is it predictable? The problem is that most managers don’t know, as a result they react to special causes as if they are every day occurrences and make a storm in a team into a hurricane. So you need measures that help you understand and improve performance, do you have that?
I was now firmly in the bad books with everyone. Denise, for spending two hours on my phone (I hope you appreciate what I do for you), Sean for bugging him on his holiday and you for a missing link. But there was light at the end of the tunnel and another message.
We left Covent Garden to the sound of music, not the Julie Andrews musical, but a string quartet. We stood and watched for a while, they were brilliant. Then they upped the ante, they started dancing with their violins! The crowd went wild and started throwing money at them.
And yes there’s a message here, if you want to do well, even during tough times, you need more than just reliability…
Be unique. This can come in the form of a product, a service, or how about a guarantee. Most people can’t offer a guarantee because they are too scared that they will mess up. Though that problem soon disappears when you have knowledge about how the work works.
And if you’re in the public sector and you’re reading this and wondering how it applies? My thoughts are that what would make you unique would be the delivery of consistently high service at low cost, do you agree?
Having seen the quartet I now had a warm feeling, everything was all right with the world. Or was the warm feeling something else. Was it climate change? The protestors in London that day certainly believe it’s the latter. And don’t get me wrong I’m all for a good rant and saving the planet, but…
We wanted to cross the road and the protestors were shouting at everyone as they crossed the line; time for another lesson. In some sectors your message might not be to everyone’s taste, so don’t make it worse by being difficult to deal with (one pedestrian got so infuriated he even burst a protestor’s balloon; that could have gone nasty). Here’s the lesson:
When you want people to comply with your message or process, don’t infuriate them by being difficult.
We ended our weekend by a visit to a Japanese restaurant chain in terminal 5 called Wagamama, it was brilliant. And it had a number of amazing characteristics:
They told us when what was going to happen and when we would get our food. Then they delivered on their promises.
They had a simple method to keep track of who was getting what and who still had to get their meals. They wrote the number of the dish on the menu. That way if a customer didn’t get the right food, the waiter knew before the customer.
They were unique. The food was unusual but very tasty.
It was easy and flawless.
Isn’t it funny how things go full circle?
P.S. This week I have an e-book of some questions I’ve answered over the past few months. The questions range from how to improve support for drug users, how systems thinking works in businesses that need to grow and get new clients, whether Kanban is appropriate to service organisations, and a few more. You can get the short book by clicking here (and yes I’m praying that it works).
Question: have you ever been asked to sell an idea or a concept to a bunch of executives who thought they had nothing to learn, or felt they had better things to do?
It’s not only frustrating it’s depressing, isn’t it? Most people think that adding content and jokes will improve the situation; they won’t. If you want to get better at selling your ideas you should first learn structure.
Eight years ago I was asked by CEO of a large blue chip organisation to present my ideas on change management to the executive team of the business. I spent weeks, really, preparing and ended up with 70 slides for 45 minute slot.
Within about 10 minutes or the presentation starting I could tell that the audience were bored. Very soon after some of them started to take phone calls, and then they simply got up and left. My big opportunity was gone, and as you can imagine the CEO never called me back.
I didn’t know what went wrong. I subsequently spent a lot of time learning presentation tricks and trying to be clever, but for the next three years I continued to bomb. Then I got lucky and bought a relatively inexpensive product from the internet. It was by no means complete but it taught me that my problem was structure.
It was as if someone turned on the lights. I started to learn, practice and develop my own systems for overall presentation structure, how to open presentations, how to structure stories, conclusions even individual slides. I soon realised everything was about structure.
I threw myself back into presenting, I now do around 80-100 presentations per year, including speaking at conferences. Here’s a comment from last week.
“Thanks for speaking, I hope we get a chance to work with you again, you were inspirational.”
If I am being honest, I’m not the best speaker in the world but I always have a crystal clear structure which makes me appear better than I am. Here it is:
Open with a controversial hook: “Most housing associations deliver poor service yet they have no idea how to fix it.”
Pose 3 questions: “Today I want to address 3 questions:
What is the standard of service in housing association?
Why it’s happening?
What can be done to fix it?”
Provide three answers for each question
Under each answer provide one piece of evidence “This graph shows it takes 212 days to complete a repair.”
Highlight the implications of the evidence “Taking so long to complete a repair means extra costs are incurred to deal with additional phone calls.”
Summarise and close with a call to action
I can now build most of presentations even those that are loaded with data, numbers and analysis, in less than an hour; and typically I get a great reaction from my audience. Maybe one day I will even get another crack at that CEO, if I do I will be sure to choose structure over style.
As many of you know, I’ve just been on holiday. And like most people I bought some books at the Airport. The first book was by James Patterson, the second by Jeffrey Deaver and the third by a new author.
What I loved about the first two books was that they had a really clear premise, someone got murdered and someone else had to find the killer, and second there was a clear structure to the book and the characters. There were easy to read.
But the third book was different. I just couldn’t figure out what the book was about. I had to keep reading the back page to try and pick up the thread of the story. Also there was no clear structure, the book kept changing locations and characters. After sixty five painful pages I just gave up and left the book in the villa for someone else to read, after-all I suppose there’s a chance it was just me (it wasn’t).
I realise you may think I’m a bit sad but I just couldn’t help making the connection between books with no premise and no structure and presentations with the same problem.
I have sat through so many presentations, made by external and internal consultants, managers and leaders where there was a clear remit to present the findings of an analysis, explain why the problem occurred and then point to the direction of the solution, but they failed to engage the leader. This happened because there was no clear definition of the problem, premise, or coherent structured points for how to improve the business. In short the leader got lost, bored, and like me on holiday, lost interest in the story.
What’s worse is that in most of the cases, the analysis and the solution were good. But the communication was poor. Ultimately the consultant never got a second chance to get in front of the leader again. In worst the worst case, the presenter’s career stalled and in the end they left the business, all because they didn’t know how to structure a presentation.
Now think of a subject that you love to talk about, and write about; planning and making presentations is mine. In addition to teaching this subject for 10 years of my life I have probably spent more money, time and effort in learning about presentation design and delivery than on any other business activity.
If you have the need to build a presentation fast, and want to improve your skills in the area of delivering presentations that by their very nature contain data, and analysis, I have written a 19 page report that you can download for free.
A structure for building starting your presentation that will immediately engage your audience
How to build the outline of any presentation within 15 minutes
How to check that the points really answer the question
The report entitled “How to create change from your presentations Steps 1-4″ is free and offers real value as a stand alone product.
Following last week’s blog on leadership. A number of people have written to me to ask the question, how we best get leaders to change their perspective on how to lead?
First a quick review on what we want leaders to do differently. The answer is their thinking and behavior. Thinking differently means that leaders shift their perspective from managing their organisation as a top down functional hierarchy, typically with decision making removed from the work. They realize that measures related to budgets and targets are futile. And there is a shift from the belief that their primary role is to manage and motivate people.
Instead they start to view their organisation as a system, viewed outside in (from the customers perspective) with decision making in the work. Measurement is related to customer purpose and capability. And the primary leadership role changes to acting on the system.
Take for example a housing association. When a customer calls in to report a repair it is normal to speak to someone who lacks expertise in diagnosis (functional thinking), who is measured on the number of calls they take (targets and service standards). But the leader doesn’t see the poor customer experience because they are remote from the work (top down, decision making separate from the work). The customer is not given a date for a repair because the scheduling is done in a different please to the diagnosis (more functional design). And when the tradesman turns up it is not uncommon for the job to incorrectly diagnosed; but as he works with schedule of rates codes he can’t make a decision to change the specification and finalise the repair. The customer loses and costs rise, but management are in the dark as to why.
The problem is that the leader doesn’t see it, because they get data that suggests everything is fine. The call targets were hit, the visit was done within the time specified by the regulator and job re-inspected to comply with the rules around schedule of rates.
If the leader knew how to look they would see failure demand: customers calling to re-book a failed repair, and requests for specific times for visits. The leader would also notice poor diagnosis leading to repeat visits; and a failure to handle calls one stop due to the functional nature of the design. Lack of decision making, poor morale and cheating would also be evident, a feature of the design of the system. And if they were really clever they would see that in their managers were spending all their time trying to get people to hit their targets and service standards rather than understand and improve the system.
Which begs the question how would you get the leader and the mangers to change?
There are three options, coercion, education and normative change.
Coercion means do this or else. And sometimes, when a business is failing or there is a crisis, it is a legitimate method of change. But long term it only gets compliance, and if those being asked to change don’t really understand why or buy in, the new behavior will at best be passive. My eldest son, Daniel, cleans his room when I promise a threat, but an inspection would soon confirm his heart wasn’t in it.
Education is also a poor method of change. Those who change as a result of education have already accepted that there is a problem and therefore a need to change. It is also likely that they have tried a number of different methods with little success and are eager for a solution. I could spend hours in a room explaining to my son, Daniel, how best to clean his room but if he didn’t see the need for a change, my dazzling presentation skills would be wasted.
Tactically, when using education as a means of change you should focus on the problem not the solution, and then show examples of other similar systems and the impact of their failures. For example I could show Daniel examples of messy rooms and how other kids of a similar age failed to impress friends and member of the opposite sex, and how that made them an outcast. This might work as long as Daniel made the connection and cared. Otherwise education is a poor method of change.
The final and best method change is normative change; which means that I come to the conclusion for myself, that I have a problem. In studies of alcohol and drug addiction (Prochaska, Norcross and Declemente 1994), the researchers found that a change in behavior was most likely to occur when the addicts recognized themselves that they needed to change.
In organisations helping managers to realize that they have a need to change requires that they go out into the work and see for themselves the unintended consequences of their policies, measures and processes. Many years ago I did some work for a sports centre. Management had recognized that in the evenings there was a high demand for five-a-side football. So in order to give everyone a good chance of getting a booking they instituted a policy.
A) Football pitches can only be booked seven days in advance from 6pm.
Management were proud of this policy because they said it meant everyone now had the same chance of getting a booking, or so they thought.
We went to the sports centre to study the nature of demand. From 4.30pm a queue started at the front counter. The queue was made up mostly of school children, they were in-fact the children of the fathers who played football, and were keeping their place in the queue.
From around 5.30pm the phone would start ringing, these were the people trying to secure the bookings for their next game of football; and because it wasn’t yet 6pm management put in place another policy that from 5.30 till 6pm the phone would not be answered (even though some of these calls were to book other facilities in the centre).
But the worst piece of data we uncovered was that the people, who were supposedly fighting for a pitch, were not actually in competition. Those that played football played at the same time every week, every month, every quarter and had done so for years.
So management’s assumption that they had made things fair for everyone was wrong on two counts.
1. There was no need to make the system fairer because no-one was competing for the same slot.
2. If a new person moved into the area put together a team and tried to get a slot they would fail, because the current system was so well known by the locals. And as far as I know there have been no new five-a-side football teams that have moved to the town.
Finally to make matters worse, the very people who paid their money week after week - the loyal customers - were being aggravated by the silly booking policy.
Management were astonished by what was happening, and quickly realized that they were to blame. Just showing them the data without the emotional experience of seeing the children queuing and the ringing phone being ignored by the staff would not, in my opinion, have had the same effect.
So what are the lessons for helping managers to change?
1. When starting with education focus on the problem and showing systems similar so management can make the intellectual connection to their system.
2. Get knowledge about how the organisation functions as a system, draw a system picture (see Understanding your Organisation as a System)
3. Take a manager to study the work (download our FREE process mapping guide) and let them see for themselves what is really happing in the work.
4. Ask questions (like why is that happening) until they recognize the link between their policy and the performance of the work.
5. Get their agreement to do check on their system
6. Identify levers for change and improve the system.
Does this mean all leaders will change? Probably not in all cases, but why don’t you give it a go and let me know what happens.
Changing for good. 1994 Prochaska, Jo. Norcross, JC. Diclemente, CC. Avon Books New York
Here’s the best business advice I’ve ever been given.
1. Turn up on time
2. Say please and thank you
3. Finish what you started
4. Keep your promises.
So how does this relate to a change programme?
1. Stick to your schedule. Most change programmes run late because managers don’t make decisions. Put a date against which decisions should be made and hold people to the date. Publish, on your visual measures board, if you are running late and why.
2. Show respect to front line staff. This is best done by having them involved in the analysis and redesign.
3. Don’t start change in another area until you have fully finished in the first.
4. Change happens by dealing with the big issues, the policies, measures job role design and management behaviour, if you have no intention of tackling these things then don’t even start.
Why don’t you put one big thing on your to do list that you know needs to be tackled and get it done!
What’s the best advice you have received whether it is on a business or change management level? Let me know and I will post it on this blog.
You get a call from the CEO (or you are the CEO). The upshot is you have to save money. What do you do?
In service organisation it’s common for 70-80% of the organisation’s costs to be tied up in salaries and buildings. Most mangers immediately jump to the conclusion that they have to cut heads and move to a smaller building(s).
You could do that. It’s a viable option, though Jim Collins, author of ‘Good to Great’, says that during the downturn the most important thing a company can do is keep its best people as they are the ones most likely to play a part in its revival. So what can you do differently?
1. Don’t hide the facts from the front line staff; in-fact involving them can often highlight the solutions needed to solve the problem. Years ago I did a job at a fireplace company. On my first day I met the bank manager who told me that we had to get him £250,000 within weeks or he was closing down the business. Whilst studying the system with a team of front line staff someone mentioned the problems they had getting clients to pay and that this was having a detrimental effect on cash flow. When we studied demand we found 40% was from customers calling to say that their invoice was wrong. Fixing that one issue went a long way to improving cash flow fast. The business and, as a direct result, livelihoods were saved. The business is still going today. If you need help ask front line staff, they really do know best.
2. Look for savings where you are most likely to find them, in the work. This solution was beautifully demonstrated by the management at Unique Air, a company latterly bought by Vodafone. The problem was that they had to save ten million pounds. So the senior managers got together and built pictures of the main organisational flows i.e. marketing, retention, migration, provisioning. And every day the chief exec met the team at four pm to ask the question “what have you saved me today” The solution to the problem lay in the upgrade process. They found that every time a customer got an upgrade on their phone they also got a new sim card. The question was asked “why do we do that?” the answer was “it”s always been done that way” (sounds familiar). The problem was new SIMs cost £100 per card. When the numbers were crunched it was found that giving customers a new SIM, rather than having them retain their old one, was costing in the region of eight million pounds per year. We also found out that the customers wanted to keep the old SIM cards because that’s where they’d stored all their numbers. We knew because they kept calling in to say so. Keeping their old card saved lots of failure demand calls and stopped the call centre manager from having to recruit more staff.
3. The final thing you can do is make sure that you do not have to give money away to customers unnecessarily, either through poor assumptions or poor service. . In Unique Air when we studied the customer retention flows, we saw that lots of money was being given away to ensure that customers didn’t leave. Instead of offering lots of incentives, we had the people ask the customer, what would it take for you to stay? Most customers only wanted an upgrade or simply wanted an apology for poor service. Again significant savings were made by looking at the system from the customers point of view and improving service.
The lessons again:
1. Involve staff
2. Get out into the work
3. Don’t assume you know what customers want
4. Improve service
And if the business is genuinely in such a bad state that you have to let people go, then the very least you can do is to do it in such a manner that people feel they have been treated with humanity and respect.
Which brings me to my last point in the blog. We have now launched our Vanguard Scotland Service Awards 2009 where we are asking subscribers to the blog to vote for the UK companies you feel have provided the best and the worst levels of service over the last 12 months.
We will be allowing votes to be cast over the next 4 weeks and will announce those companies that get the most votes in our blog. Click here to vote now.
Thanks to Laurence, Colin, Davide, Andy, Ron and Sean who posted comments last week. Keep them coming.
Managing change is tough, really tough. Sometimes you need to know when to get out and sometimes you just need to dig in. If you are in the latter camp then here’s a quote an old friend passed to me that made a difference.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and persistence alone, always has and always will, solve the problems of the human race”. Calvin Coolidge
My thanks to Gerry Godley for this quote.
Here’s the idea: If you really are wasting your time on this change project, get out. If not, make a decision to stay and list every obstacle that’s stopping you from achieving your objectives. Take each obstacle and write all the actions required to make the obstacle disappear. Then act.
We ran out of gas yesterday, so I was out at the back of the house changing over the bottles (we live in the country, no pipes out here).As I was doing the mans stuff I noticed that the back of the house was much dirtier than the front.It then dawned on me that the painters (believe it or not, my uncle and his friend) had only painted the front of the house.And just so you know, they also ran late and asked for more money than we agreed.
Painting a house or houses, fitting a kitchen or lots of them, building roads, designing IT or building and testing new engines are all examples of project environments.You will know if you work in a project environment as each job you do typically has a unique outcome.And this sort of work is typically fraught with the same problems - projects run late, are never completed in full, and go over budget.Furthermore the problems are exacerbated if you work in a system that has lots of projects going at the same time.
What’s worse is that all the things we are taught as managers to help us manage projects often make their performance worse.Starting more projects earlier leads to more multi-tasking and missed due dates.Setting task deadlines means managers are more interested in individual tasks and can miss key deliverables.Focusing on percentage of task complete is irrelevant when what you need to know is when the task will actually be done.
So what can you do differently if you work in a project environment?First, before you even begin thinking about better management of the project, capture data on the performance of previous projects.Project capability data is the percentage of projects finished on time, in full and on budget.Then map the process and remove all non-value adding work.
Next change your approach to task management.This means assigning a task manager whose responsibility is to make sure that people are not over loaded, are working on one task at a time, and are able to work on the task till its completion.Their job also involves getting data on the estimated completion date of the task and providing support if there is a resource conflict.Also they are less concerned with individual tasks running late than they are with how the task might have an impact on the critical chain.
A third idea, in a multi-project environment, is to freeze at least a quarter of all projects and have the resource work on the completion of the others.No projects can then be released until another is complete.And make sure there is a master list of all projects.This list should include the date for the release of the project for preparatory work, the actual start date and the finish date.
Finally use a pert diagram to build your project network.And use this generic diagram as a basis for building all future projects.It means that when you are about to start a new project the network can be built fast by simply adding to or subtracting from the generic network.
And don’t get seduced by software. You can do all of the above by using a simple Excel spreadsheet, paper and pen and post it notes.Oh, and one final golden rule, when you need a project done on time, in full and on budget, never use family or friends as the contractor.
So here’s the idea, review your last 10 projects, find out how many finished on time, in full and on budget.Draw up a project network using post it notes as your generic template.On the next project make sure people don’t multi-task.Assign a task manager whose job it is to remove blockages from those doing tasks.
Let me know your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment Click here now