“Murphy” is a well-known character in management, finance, operations, project management ...
He is eager to mess up deliverables, deadlines, budgets typically coming unannounced. He is disguised in the form of
- Parkinson’s law: work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion
- the student syndrome: 66 % of the efforts are completed in the last third of the project duration
- bad multitasking: multitasking will force ALL projects at hand to be late
There is no point in denying Murphy’s existence or assuming he will not stop by. The only way to deal with him is through “intelligent buffers”.
The finance community is well aware of this and has - since long - established policies to “protect” themselves against Murphy’s dealings (accruals, write downs ...).
The engineering community is of course aware of Murphy’s existence but needs to learn how to “sell” their need for buffers. The two biggest challenges seem to be:
- to eliminate bad multitasking (especially of bottleneck resources)
- to carve out 30 % to 50 % of original task durations due to Student Syndromenm and to reinvest them at strategic points of the project (finish; merging paths; bottleneck resources)
- to remind accountants that what is good for them (accruals) is good and necessary for engineers.
These issues and more are covered in section CCPM (critical chain project management) of this homepage.