In spite of the widespread use of project management techniques, projects continue to fail, meaning that they do not meet time, budget, or specification targets.
Research suggests two different problem solutions:
1. Optimize the practice of project management, focusing on the improvement of human behavior of practitioners (e.g. better team-work, communication …).
2. Optimize the theory of project management, focusing on the fine-tuning of algorithms in an attempt to minimize computer-time or project duration.
Certainly, the two themes should converge to provide a simple but effective approach to project management. Some researchers and practitioners suggest developing a new approach instead of trying to optimize one that is flawed. A new approach that uses a systems perspective to address the core problems of traditional (1) project planning, scheduling, and controlling tools and that fully assess the impact of an assumption related to an activity, to resource contention, or to converging paths on the results of a project.
Without this systems perspective of focusing on core problems of project failures, a proposed solution (such as better communications) may create more problems (such as having more project meetings and producing more reports) than it solves.
ED Walker (2) suggests 11 guidelines that any new project management method must address. These guidelines are posed as a starting point in the development of a comprehensive solution to project planning, scheduling, and control.
(1) Gantt chart scheduling and PERT/CPM
(2) Ed D. Walker II (MBA, PhD), Associate Professor of Management at Valdosta State University, is recognized as a CPIM by APICS and as a Jonah by the Goldratt Institute and is certified in TOC project management, the TOC thinking processes, and TOC operations management by the TOCICO. He has worked in production planning and control, distribution, and plant management in both the food processing and textile industries.