Managing multiple projects and departmental performance using buffer burn index.
1.0 INTRODUCTIONIn today's competitive environment, delivery time has assumed a level of significance in the tool dies industry that can no longer be negotiated. There is a growing trend among customers to rate suppliers on several factors such as price, quality, service, etc. with delivery time being the most important. The resulting weighted score often determines if a supplier will even be allowed to bid on a job. As a result, suppliers now face enormous pressures to better manage their tool die projects in all stages of production. Many firms no longer base purchase decisions on a supplier's relationship with customers, but rather, its performance on timely delivery. According to Steyn (2001), 90% of all projects by value are conducted in multi-project environment. Given that completion of a single project on time is difficult enough, trying to complete different projects within stated time and budget becomes very challenging. Herroelen and Leus (2005) state that in spite of availability of a plethora of project management software tools, most projects still fail to come in on time and budget. According to Fricke and Shenhar (2000) the primary reason for such failures is project management's inability to effectively manage uncertainties associated with resource dependencies and its effective prioritization. Rand (2000) posits that the traditional project management approaches namely, PERT/CPM, have failed to address chronic problems of late completion, over spending, and a need to cut specifications that every project manager experiences. These approaches not only fail to take resource availability into account but also pad large amounts of contingency reserve in each activity for unexpected delays. However, this contingency reserve is either lost or wasted due to worker "student syndrome" i.e. leaving everything to the last minute and/or "Parkinson's syndrome" whereby work expands to fill time available for its completion (Newbold, 1998). This calls for a rigorous analysis of the core problem of bottlenecks associated with managing projects. In the last decade, Critical Chain Project Manageme...