Resource restraints can quickly derail projects. How can your team effectively deal with them? These bottlenecks can include shortages of staff, equipment and other resources required to effectively complete a project, causing missed deadlines and increased costs. How can the Theory of Constraints help IT project managers address these issues? Let’s begin by discussing what the theory is.
Theory of Constraints
The Theory of Constraints states that even a small constraint can be enough to prevent a project from being completed effectively. Identifying this bottleneck and clearing it is not always easy. Employing a “focusing process,” as detailed by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt in his book “The Goal” can identify and eliminate these constraints.
The Five Focusing Steps are:
- Identify the Constraint (Figure out the sticking point.)
- Exploit It (Make the best of what you’re working with.)
- Subordinate (Review entire process.)
- Elevate (If constraint remains, decide on next action to alleviate.)
- Repeat (Continue cycle until constraint is removed.)
How Does This Apply to IT Project Management?
No matter what your project management methodology, the Theory of Constraints can be applied. Choosing the correct approach is essential to your project success, but running into constraints is a commonality any methodology can share.
Projects can be bogged down by:
- Skills Shortages
- Over-taxed Resources
- Unclear Deliverables
- Cost Overruns
- Inability to scale
- Competing goals
Only by assessing projects on an ongoing basis for such obstacles can you avoid missing project deadlines or delivering less than optimal results.
Prioritize According to Goals
When a constraint is identified, don’t assume it must be addressed immediately. If it’s not preventing the project from progressing, noting it so that it can be avoided in future projects may be adequate. Don’t allow a minor inefficiency to turn into a major distraction.
Hiring to Avoid Constraints
One of the most difficult areas of constraint to address are team member who are not up to their assigned task. By hiring more accurately – either those you wish to retain for the long run, or those needed on a contract basis for a specific project requirement – you are better able to reach your project goals.
As top recruiters in IT project management, PMO Partners has the resources to help you hire skilled and talented IT executives for project management roles. Contact us today for more information regarding direct hire and contract-hire candidates.