Scheduling Resources and Costs

The CCPM Dilemma


Pinyarat worked in the IT department of a diversified IT firm. She was describing the firm’s early encounters with critical-chain scheduling to a friend in another IT firm.

Three years ago management decided to add 10 percent time to all activity estimates because almost all projects were coming in late. One thought was people were simply working too hard and needed some relief. This approach did not work! Projects still came in late. Next, management decided to take away the extra time for activities and add 10 percent for project estimates to ensure project durations would be met. Again, nothing improved and projects continued to come in late. Recently, the firm hired a consultant who promoted critical-chain scheduling, which was implemented for all projects in her division. Almost all failed to perform.

Pinyarat explained, “The estimates were basically impossible. The activity durations got squeezed down to less than the 50 percent guideline. We were late on nearly every task. In addition, I was not allowed to put in a big enough project buffer, which only added to projects being late. One colleague who was working on six projects gave up and quit; he said he was killing himself and saw no hope of things getting better. My projects are not the only ones having big problems. Some people had no idea why anyone would use CCPM scheduling. To quote one of my best programmers: ‘They ask for an estimate and then they cut it 50 percent or more.’ What kind of game is this? Apparently they don’t trust us.”

A week later, to Pinyarat’s surprise, she was called to the IT manager’s office. Pinyarat imagined numerous bad scenarios of how the meeting would go—even to the remote possibility of being fired! The manager wanted the division to straighten out their project management practices and stop this business of nearly all IT projects being late. There were rumors of cleaning house or outsourcing IT work.

The manager believed Pinyarat, who passed the PMP exam, had the best chance of turning things around. He said, “Pinyarat, I’m nearing the desperate level; top management is reaching the end of the rope with our division. We need to turn this around for both our sakes. Give me a plan that I can sponsor within the week.”

Pinyarat explained to her friend a few of her ideas—like squeezing estimates too far. But she said she would take any ideas she could get from anyone.

Give Pinyarat a report that identifies the key problems and a plan of action she can present to her sponsor. Limit your report to 500 words in APA format.


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