Problem And Solution

Many organizations do not have resources that are dedicated full time to a single project for the project's duration. In fact, it is a common practice for management to initiate more and more projects with the result that resources are multitasked. Either they are working on more than one project at a time, or they are splitting their time between a project and other responsibilities.

The idea of multitasking has become so embedded in management practices that most managers believe it is a very positive practice. By multitasking, managers believe that resources are more effectively utilized and that work flow is not negatively impacted. These are assumptions that the Critical Chain multi-project solution challenges.

The practice of multitasking originates with the demands of senior functional managers to initiate new projects immediately. A functional manager needs projects to be completed in order to meet his goals. The belief is that the sooner the project is initiated, the sooner it will be complete.

Typically, organizations do not formally measure the load on the various resources coming from the combination of projects that the organization is working on. While some project plans show resource loading, the information is often too detailed to enable serious resource planning.

With each functional executive thinking his project is "the most important," the common practice is to push work into the system to get his projects moved forward. This is what leads to multitasking. Managers, faced with conflicting demands for the same resource, from various executives or senior managers, try to satisfy all demands by having resources work on multiple projects. In this environment, the priority system is "who is screaming the loudest." In effect, there is no priority system.

Multitasking is not always bad. For example, if a resource begins work on Project 1 and has to wait for a week for an approval or some other task completion, it would be good to take advantage of that gap in time with multitasking. As long as he is able to get back to the work he was doing without delay when the approval comes through, this is good multitasking. But if the other task requires a month, this becomes bad multitasking. Bad multitasking is illustrated in Figure 22-9.

In Figure 22-9, a resource has three tasks to complete on three different projects. Each task is approximately three weeks work. Multitasking implies that task X is started, worked r-

March 1st

March 19 ^r

April 9

Task X

Project 1 3 weeks

Task Y Project 2 3 weeks r

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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