CMS Montera provides consulting and software to help clients accelerate projects and solve problems in operations and supply chain. Our clients are typically in manufacturing, distribution, engineering and project management. By having greater visibility and synchronization of their business, clients are able to solve problems related to lead times, forecast, inventory, capacity, on-time delivery, speed of product development and market focus.
In 2004, CMS Montera began the development of its Manufacturing and Project Management software called CMS RoadRunner. What was once a small “DBR Software” whose first schedule was displayed in a DOS Screen and survived the rigorous testing challenges of Eli Schragenheim, has evolved into an all- encompassing enterprise-wide TOC solution software with four primary modules:
- Mx – Production Planning and Execution based on Drum Buffer Rope and Buffer Management
- Rx – Inventory and Supply Management based on Demand Driven Replenishment
- Px – Project Execution based on Critical Chain
- Bx – Business Performance analysis combining a TOC-based Operations Scorecard with Throughput Accounting.
CMS RoadRunner is currently implemented in many locations across North and South America, Europe and the Middle East.
The Concept of the Technological solution that this presentation will address is in an area where we have recently devoted a great deal of time and resources to solve the considerable challenges. This area is using technology to help organizations that manage projects as part of their business see realistic task start dates for resource management and for communication with customers. With the CCPM methodology, task durations are aggressive since safety is pulled out and placed at the end of a chain as a buffer, thus shifting task start dates. In order for the CCPM to be widely accepted, organizations implementing CCPM need to build a bridge to connect the CCPM aggressive task start dates to the typical expected start dates used in PMI practices. These dates play important role in various areas of project management. One of these functions is a GANTT chart that is widely used in communication of expected dates / milestones to customers. Another area is Resource Management in the project planning cycle across business and enterprise project management offices (PMOs).
1 – What is the Power of the new technology?
The power of the technology, is the ability to easily convert “aggressive task start dates” in a typical CCPM based buffered project to “expected” start dates with safety inserted back into tasks at various stages of the project life cycle.
2 – What current limitation does the new technology eliminate or vastly reduce?
In CCPM implementations, task execution becomes the priority driven by flow index and delays caused at a task or a chain level. Start dates of these tasks are uncertain as safety has been removed and placed as a buffer at end of a chain. This practice results in a difficult resource planning process, especially in a project with long duration. In a typical GANTT chart approach, dates are communicated to customers using PMI practices based on expected (and often wrong) dates. However, displaying aggressive start dates in a CCPM practice is not easy since most customers are not aware of the methodology.
The new technology, needs to be able convert CCPM buffered projects to an “unbuffered GANTT” allowing communication of expected tasks dates, therefore vastly reducing problems with project and resource planning on both sides.
3 – What policies, norms, measurements and behaviors are used to bypass the above limitation.
Currently, many organizations that have implemented CCPM estimate resource requirements. This is based on various spreadsheets and other software, unrelated to the CCPM software, used to compute an approximation of resource requirements and dates for GANTT.
4 - What policies, norms and behaviors should be used once the new technology is in place?
Once the new technology is in place, estimated start dates should be calculated incorporating safety within tasks. These dates should strictly be used for overall resource management and communication with customers. Various policies should be put in place to sustain the CCPM behavior of aggressive task starts, keeping away the potential of falling back into practicing undesirable behaviors such as student syndrome and Parkinson.
5 – Do the new rules require any change in the way we use the technology?
In recent implementations of CCPM, clients developed semi-automated spreadsheets to communicate with CCPM software to calculate expected start dates. As this becomes unreliable and not standardized, it would have to change to create all dates within the CCPM software. However, at the same time, restrict the undesirable behaviors at the resource level during execution of following expected start dates.
6 – How to cause the change?
An appropriate place to start with this change is the final phase of the CCPM implementation in an organization. Users will be educated only on typical aggressive start dates during the initial phase of project planning and execution. Then the expected start dates will be introduced at the project management level, and then revealed in the CCPM software.
In this presentation, we will also share our experience and challenges during CCPM implementations in introduction and deployment of expected start dates, including:
- Effect of chain delays on start dates of future tasks
- How a delay / gain on the Critical Chain translates into parallel chains
- Adding safety back into duration when examining resource loading