STABER student syndrom
task duration
multitasking brain
RIZZO project buffer management

“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 has yet to learn how to “sell” their need for buffers. The 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 Syndrom and to reinvest them at strategic points of the project (finish; merging paths; bottleneck resources)
  • to remind the hierarchy that what is good for finance (accruals) is good and necessary for engineers.

These issues and more are covered in section CCPM (critical chain project management) of this homepage.