Back to Volume 3 | Winter 2018

A “Gap” in Current Project Management and The Impact on Project Outcomes

Executive Summary

An article in a previous edition of this Journal outlined the evolution of project management over three distinct Eras. Eras 1 & 2 encapsulate conventional project management thinking, while Era 3 describes a Project Production Management framework that views projects as temporary production systems and applies Operations Science to optimize project delivery.

In this article, we elaborate upon a number of conclusions that can be drawn from applying this Era 3 framework to the optimization and control of project execution. Era 2 conventional thinking does not provide an accurate or robust understanding of how a production system behaves. This is because Era 2 thinking ignores variability and inventory, and their impact on a given production system including the delivery of a project. Era 2 project management thinking therefore does not effectively expose hidden, but important, risks to the delivery of a project. This “gap” is a major contributor to project cost and schedule overruns and the associated claims.

In this article, we describe how Project Production Management provides the means for identifying and resolving these hidden risks.

Keywords: Temporary Production System; Production System Optimization; Project Production Control; Inventory; WIP; Variability

Todd R. Zabelle, Founder & CEO, Strategic Project Solutions Inc.,
H. James Choo, Ph.D., Chief Technical Officer, Strategic Project Solutions Inc.,
Mark L. Spearman, Ph.D.,Technical Director, Project Production Institute,
Edward S. Pound, Director Production System Optimization, Strategic Project Solutions Inc.,

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