Critical Chain: A Business Model (Kindle edition) by the late Eliyahu Goldratt.
I read this book to deepen my understandiing of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), which is covered in PMBOK Fifth Edition (18.104.22.168). One compelling part for me was the class discussion in Chapter 9, which focuses on the project manager's management of schedule. Start with the critical path (PMBOK: "The sequence of activities that represents the longest path through a project, which determines the shortest possible duration"). In terms of bringing projects to completion on time (and the challenge of doing so in the later stages of a project), consider a path that's parallel to the critical path, but of shorter duration. (That is, a non-critical path.) Each management approach has downsides:
Early start: Increase complexity for the PM at the early stages of the project
Late start: Puts this parallel path, de facto, on the critical path
Continuing: "Both early start and late start jeopardize the [PM's] ability to focus."
A later conclusion: "When you add it all up, safety must be the majority of the estimated time for a project." This is fleshed out in Chapter 16 (another professor and student discussion chapter): In contrast to adding buffer to each individual step, a single buffer is added to the project constraint (which is the critical path). Then, a time buffer is also inserted into all paths feeding into the critical path, built by removing buffer from the steps in the feeding path. These two approaches go to the core of PMBOK 22.214.171.124.
Chapter 11 includes a lengthy presentation on the Theory of Constraints (TOC). Goldratt's work with TOC is mentioned in the Wikipedia article.
Chapter 25 content is interesting in terms of the strategy of project selection and the need to look at quantitative measures other than payback period or Net Present Value - specifically, the need to integrate the time and money elements into a single measure.
The use of the Critical Chain Method is dependent upon empowered and highly knowledgeable product managers.
I am much more enthused about Goldratt's work after reading this book - specifically, the last third of the book contained many valuable lessons and points that I need to research.
I'm participating in the PMI Region 1 Leadership Conference that's being held in the city where I live and work, Eugene. I'm providing logistical support along with my PMI Willamette Valley chapter colleagues. But I'm joining sessions as I can and I'll be taking notes in this space for sessions.
PMP as baseline for project management: This came up in a couple of points. Nuanced - it's seen as a baseline competency, with extensive professional development beyond certification needed to succeed as a PM. Or, as Ashish Gupta described in his presentation on PMI certifications, maintaining PMP certification has an ongong training (PDU) requirement, and this is one incentive for achieving the PMP certification.
PMBOK Guide - Sixth Edition will be published online and in print in the third quarter of 2017. Ashish noted the Sixth Edition's emphasis on Agile.
Gina Abudi presented on the PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF). This foundation works to improve project management knowledge worldwide, including support for PM education programs (such as graduate programs in project management and PM fundamentals in high schools).
Continuing: Gina later presented on the PMI Educational Foundation in a stand-alone presentation. The high school outreach described above employs project-based learning(PBL), as opposed to lecture format, as described in this Medford, Oregon case study. Discussion during the session focused on benefits of this work, including: Contributing to the knowledge and the future of the project management profession; improving the ability to chapters in communicating with stakeholders; and raising the visibility of the PMI chapter in the community.
Steve Norton, who led my PMP exam training session last year, faciliated a Birds of a Feather session in which PMI regional leaders considered challenges and opportunities on a set of predefined topics, based upon pre-conference survey (of the participants). Definitely some great ideas came out of this - in terms of attracting volunteers, creating titles for responsibilites that match well to current resume expectations and trying shorter duration appointments.
I introduced Jeff Gee from the PMI Olympia Chapter, who presented on "Project Reach: A Simplified Approach to Live Streaming Meetings." Jeff saw this session as following naturally from "Is the Chapter Meeting Dead" session that was held in the previous hour - with live streaming being a method for improving engagement with the chapter meeting. Streaming meetings offer the benefits of reaching more members; meeting expectations (of PMs who use streaming technologies in their work - why not in PMI work?); and, growing the chapter membership. The service requirements for Project Reach match what's supported by services such as Citrix GoToMeeting and Cisco WebEx: Ability to present video live stream and computer screen capture; ability to record meeting; ability to register meeting attendees (including during the meeting). Jeff noted that participation is being monetized (example, $5 per member, with the member recording supporting tracking for PDUs). Jeff noted that the Olympia chapter licensed GoToWebinar, which scales to 1,000 participants and is relatively low cost (approximately $100 per month). Hardware requirements included: Camcorder as a webcam, tripod support, and microphone support, wireless/bluetooth preferred. The total hardware costs, including two laptops (presenter, streaming) is approximately $2,200. For recording editing (MP4), a participant recommended Adobe Premiere.
PM & Tech Blog
"Nothing so sharpens the thought process as writing down one's arguments. Weaknesses overlooked in oral discussion become painfully obvious on the written page.”