Part 1: Summary
chain is a novel written by Eliyahu Goldratt. It is a book which act as a know
how to guide for aspiring project managers in industry. It was published by the
North River Press on 4th September 1997. The book has many real life
examples which help us to understand the the theory of project management in a
more realistic and engaging way.
Primary/Core idea of the book
revolves around many philosophies and tries to highlight key concerns in
current practices and system. It attempts
to bring a difference in the educational systems for better understanding of
change in business world. The novel effectively points out the problems
regarding how time estimates are normally carried out on projects. It also
tries to explain the concept of Theory of Constraints with an example of its
implementation in a steel mill. It further shows the application of topic
Theory of Constraints and how it can be incorporated in case of multiple
projects, create easy generation of schedule and manage resources constraints.
starts with the description of activities happening at a modem company of name
Genemodem . Over there the management is demanding to shorten the process of the product development because
they believe that if they did not do that then they would lag behind the
market. They appoint three young managers. One from the development, one from finance,
and one from marketing department. They are given responsibility to find a
method to shorten the lead-time of product development. Their mission was to
shorten their current project of 2 years to 6 months.
story is about a person named Rick Silver. He is a young associate professor of
business. He is apparently struggling to create an impact and make a noteworthy
contribution to the academic world in field of project management. He seeks to
get a tenure and is in need of publications. He desperately wants a tenure
because he is facing personal and financial problems at home , which he thinks
can be resolved if he gets the tenure.
university manger B.J. decides to reject new tenure applications, including that
of Rick Silver’s to avoid financial disaster as she realized that MBA
programmes are not giving desired value to students. Now rick has to teach
project management course to those recruited 3 young managers from Genemodem. .He
is a very good teacher and conducts interactive learning in his lecture to his
students at Executive MBA class.
class, Rick discusses the definition of a project and its stakeholders. He tells
his students the famous story about the StatOil project in which a Norwegian
oil company was left with no choice but to resign from a four-billion-dollar oil drilling
project. He also talks about train
tunnel channel project between England and France which faced major cost
second class, rick and his students conclude that there exists a repetitive system
regarding justification given for project delays. The notice that the top
management usually blames the weather, the vendors, the government while lower-level
management blames people inside the company for delay. In the third class, they
begin to draw diagrams of what a project should appear. They also learn how a
project manager should monitor progress and be always focused. Later on, they
attend a colloquium and meet professor Johnny Fisher who enlightens students
with knowledge on what is required in a managers to manage well and he divides
his philosophy into two types which are controlling of costs and protecting
throughput. They discuss uponthe current procedure of measuring success at a work
and shows how it is in contradiction with success measured at line of
production. They explain principle steps involved in theory of constraints. They
agree to the point that the critical path is the constraint in project
management. The solution that they found to decrease lead time on Genemodem
project is to decrease time for each critical path steps by half. The time that
is saved by cutting each step into half is added to the end of path and the
terminology used to describe it is project buffer. For non-critical path cut the steps of estimated
original time by half. The half of the remaining
cut lead time was call feeding buffer time.
In the end
the university is able to find solution to the market value demand. And hence professor
rick silvers financial as well as personal problems also resolve.
Review of the book
examples and analogies, we get to learn about the theory of project management.
We are also highlighted upon concepts of resource bottlenecks, multiple project
resource constrain, cost of money, bell curve, median etc. The book also points
out issues in current education system like student syndrome, not claiming
early competition and multitasking inefficiency.