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Submitted by mwherry on


In an older podcast concerning project management, I think, Mark discussed briefly queuing theory and the ramifications of delays. I am a Director at a CPA firm and we have struggled keep our staff focuses in getting projects done outside of our "busiest" time. What they have failed to understand is the ramifications of delays which then causes projects to be pushed up against deadline. While we have discussed and provided feedback, they just don't seem to understand or accept are reasons. Does anyone have any good articles or short books in regard to queuing theory?


rwwh's picture
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It is neither a short book nor strictly about queueing theory, but I think "The Goal" is a great book to read that shows the implications of processing time. The focus of the book is slightly different though: it tries to convince management of the merits of "agile" practices. In the process, though, it shows a lot about buffers in processing time and meeting deadlines. 

Brian Suyat's picture
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In Jim Collins' book "Great by Choice", he talks about the '20 mil march'. Mike has referred to this a number of times.

The concept includes the notion that "we will march 20 miles today whether it snows, rains or is sunny".

In "The 4 Disciplines of Execution" by Chris McChesney, there is a guide to putting the cadence together. It includes:

1-2 Wildly Important Goals

Leading Metrics

Visual Scoreboard

Weekly Cadence

You end up managing your staff like the construction crew on a house. "I know that the owners will not move in for 6 months. AND, we need to have the permits in by next week. What are we doing next week in order to move our projects forward?"

tedtschopp's picture

I understand that the books that follow The Goal cover this in more detail.  I have not read them though, so I could have heard wrong.

Ted Tschopp
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Wayne1's picture
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I'm not sure a book or article is the answer here, I see this as a communication issue. You say that your staff have "failed to understand the ramifications of delays.....", this, I believe is your sticking point. Perhaps looking at how this message is delivered, by whom and how often will start to uncover the root cause.

In the mean time, if you and your managers aren't already doing Weekly O3's and Weekly Team Meetings this might be a good time to start, its worked for me in the past when I've faced similar issues.

Best of luck,