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.
begins with the details of activities happening at a modem company of name
Genemodem . Over there the management is demanding to reduce the process of the product development
because they believe that if they did not do that then they would lag behind
the market. They decide to hire 3 managers(young). One from the development,
one from finance, and one from marketing department. They are given responsibility
to find a method to reduce 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 of Stat Oil project and Norwegian oil
company. He also shares about the tunnel channel train project running between
England and France which faced major cost overrun
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 next class, they
begin to sketch figures 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 seminar and happen to meet professor Johnny Fisher who enlightens
students with knowledge on what is required in a managers to do well and he
divides his philosophy into two types which are controlling of costs and
protecting throughput. They discuss upon the 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 . 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.