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Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Business Blog
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.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year! -- Resolution: More posts.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

From Logistics to Body-Building -- Constraint thinking in action in an unusual application...
I'm in the logistics business and one thing I have become very familiar with is Theory of Constraints. It's a business idea of:

First - identify your goal.

Second - identify your constraints, or bottlenecks in your processes.

Third - elevate your bottleneck's importance and make it a priority to eliminate them.

Fourth - once the constraint has been eliminated, search for your next constraint and start over.

For me, my constraint is my skinny arms.
Who woulda thunk?

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Agile Xtreme --

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Chain Reaction -- A recent piece on Critical Chain Project Management in Projects@Work (free registration required). Nothing technically new to readers of the PM section of Focused Performance, but worth perusing anyhow for its review of a current application.

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Skills Bottlenecks -- In How to fix IT skill shortages and misalignments in ZDNet's UK site, Mark Lefkowitz discusses a pay-for-skill approach to addressing IT bottlenecks: "
Eli Goldratt, the father of the Theory of Constraints, said: 'Tell me how you will measure me and I will tell you how I will behave.' Consider what would happen if workers were paid on the basis of their demonstrated skill-sets in specific knowledge areas, functional skills, and technological acumen, rather than their title and longevity within the organisation."
Probably applies to other skills beyond IT as well.

posted by Frank - Permanent Link - |

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Multi-tasking or Not? -- In Project Management Scratchpad: Stacks and Time Management, Brian Leach uses an example of painting a room as an appropriate kind of job to consider multi-tasking as appropriate.
The jobs like painting will probably be completed sooner if you do them in parallel; paint a layer in one room, paint a layer in another room while the first room dries, etc. You're idle for less time, and the work is a fixed amount, so the math works in your favor.
I have no quibble with Brian's conclusion, but we should no confuse it as an example of appropriate multi-tasking, or what he calls doing them...
in parallel (do a little of A, put it down, do a little of B, repeat).
The room painting is not really an example of "parallel" multi-tasking.

Painting a room is a project (or sub-project), not a task. The tasks involved are 1) painter paints first coat, 2) room dries, and 3) painter paints second coat, 4) room dries.

Doing something else (painting room #2) while room #1 dries is NOT multitasking. Going off to paint a coat on another room while room #1 dries is not multi-tasking; it is, as you say, simply productive use of the painter's time while the room "resource" is otherwise occupied drying.

That said, if it takes longer to paint a coat in room #2 than for room #1 to dry, an interesting operational decision is whether to shift back to the second coat of #1 before completing the first coat of #2. If the carpet guys are (or will shortly be) ready to get started on room #1, it may be worth the shift back to the first room before completing the second. Doing so may be multi-tasking, but it may be appropriate multi-tasking.

Bad multi-tasking is the interruption of one task, started, but not completed, to perform another unrelated task for no reason other than to get the second task started. If taken to the (usual) "extreme", bouncing back and forth between uncompleted tasks results in no benefit for either; indeed, it results in delay of completion of both.

Progress is not acheived in just getting something started, or even paritally done. It only really occurs at the completion of the task when some other resource (the carpet guys) can make use of your output - a dried, painted room.

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Strategic Thinking and Improvement

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Face Reality

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Managing for Murphy, Satan, and Yourself

More of the Same (Local/Global)

PMI Congress Notes: Using Risk Management for Strategic Advantage

Tell Me How You'll Measure Me and Ah, But What to Measure?

What's in Your Strategy?

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Why TOC Works
Project and Multi-Project Management
Critical Chain and (not or) XP

Defining Project Success (But for Whom?)

Down 'n Dirty w/TOC and PM (Part 1 of 5 consecutive posts)

End of Project Review

If Project Management is the Answer, What's the Question?

In Defense of Planning

It Ain't the Tools

Lessons Learned, Revisited

Predicting Uncertain Futures

Project Conflicts

Project Determinism (and other myths)

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Removing Bottlenecks - A Core Systems Design Principle

Stage Gates and Critical Chain

Ten Top Sources of Project Failure (The Executive Version)

The Meaning of "Schedule"
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Invisible Dogma - Perpetuating Paradigms

Nothing But Value

On Assumption Busting

Personal Productivity - An Excuse?

The Psychology of Change Management

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