This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.
Friday, March 21, 2003
• Projects vs Operations -- Over on Gantthead, someone asked about the difference between projects and operations, beyond the usual "temporary and unique" descriptor for projects. There are two things that I take into account when distinguishing projects from operations (which I'll translate to production-like operations).
The first is the relative range of uncertainty associated with the component tasks/jobs being performed as part of production or projects. If you were to assess, for example, the possible anticipated range of duration for a production/operations task, it might be around +/- 10%, max. (Think about the nature of Industrial Engineering time studies to define standard performance in production.) Project tasks have a range of typical possibility more like -20% to +200%.
Another differentiating characteristic is the usual nature of queing of work in well managed project or production operations. The amount of "touch-time" on a project would typically be a much higher percentage of total time in a project than in a production-like operation. In operations, a common objective is to make sure that key constraining resources are not allowed to sit idle, so work waiting for resources is a common and relatively accepted situation. In projects, the speed of getting to the final deliverables is usually more paramount, so the preferred situation would be resources waiting for work. Admittedly the application of leanish manufacturing practices brings production operations closer to the latter situation, but the basic disctinction will still probably be valid for the foreseeable future.
posted by Frank - Permanent Link -