Code Red: Prioritization Over Optimization

PMI Lakeshore, Ontario Chapter

Venkata is a project manager in Ontario.

Custom manufacturing organizations often struggle with balancing projects and resources. See if this sounds familiar: Your fabrication department is struggling to keep up with existing projects. It also has to schedule some rework due to quality or design issue. In addition, there’s a call from a customer whose equipment is down and needs some warranty work done as soon as possible. Where does this go into the queue? How can project managers plan for all the unexpected work and keep up with their planned work?

Every time the fabrication team stops working on current projects to accommodate a rework or a warranty order, it pushes the schedule of the current projects out. The setup involved in switching from current to warranty/rework and then back to current also adds to the cost.

In a matrixed organization where the project managers don’t have control over the daily work assignment of the fabrication team, they might find a project cost increase and schedule slippage. Can a proper risk management strategy predict and manage the amount of rework/warranty that comes in?

As much as we as project managers would like to predict and prepare for such eventualities, we usually fall short in terms of controlling the unforeseen work that plagues our schedules and increases our costs.

We often look at optimization or prioritization to keep projects on track.

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