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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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Multi-Project Management and Organizational Effectiveness V -- Constraint-Savvy Multi-Project and Resource Management -- In order for a multi-project system to operate effectively for an organization, it needs to assure that the project pipeline isn’t overloaded. Also, when there are decisions to be made between project tasks vying for the attention of a resource, it needs to provide a clear priority that is aligned with maximizing the benefit from the total collection of projects so that the resource in question will pick up and work the “right” task without multi-tasking. The first of these requirements is directly related to understanding and managing the organization through its constraints.

Constraint = Capacity = Throughput. Unless artificially forced otherwise, or unless mismanaged to the point of non-recognition by overload, systems put together for a purpose typically have one or at most very few constraints limiting their ability to deliver that purpose. Like the clichéd “weak link of a chain,” a potential bottleneck resource can usually be identified as a limiting factor associated with project throughput.

The capacity of the system is the capacity of this constraining bottleneck. It doesn’t pay to try to push more projects into launch mode than this constraint can handle. They’ll only back up waiting for it to attend to them and they’ll distract and unnecessarily overload all the resources working upstream of the constraint. Rather than trying to tightly balance the load on all resources (and killing throughput in the process), a rational approach to managing such a system is to identify (or design in) a clearly understood constraint and manage that one piece of the system very closely.

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