Estimating Project Timelines

Statistically Estimating Project Timelines by Walter McIntyre

Statistics

Why is it that projects more often than not come in behind schedule and over budget? This question drives business executives crazy. Why shouldn’t there be an even split between on time project delivery and late project delivery? These are valid questions.

Project Time Estimates

Why is it that projects more often than not come in behind schedule and over budget? This question drives business executives crazy. Why shouldn’t there be an even split between on time project delivery and late project delivery? These are valid questions.

Six Sigma Performance Teams

If you were selecting a basketball team, what criteria would you use for the selection of players? If an academic team were being selected, what would your criteria be? If the selection of a Six Sigma process improvement team were the objective, what criteria would be used?

It seems so simple, but we can sometimes make things complicated. Too much attention to politics and control will spoil the team’s chemistry. There are some simple rules, though, that can make the process less painful and more successful.

Six Sigma Projects

  Below are some examples of potential projects. Some are good process improvement project ideas and some are not.

 1.        The installation of a new process or piece equipment that has already been selected.

 Answer: This is not a good project idea.  The decision about what to do has already been made.

 2.        Call center cycle time improvement.

 Answer: This is a good project idea. It involves the improvement of an existing process.  It may need further scope narrowing (Type of phone calls, for example).

 3.        Development of a new ad campaign.

Six Sigma Success and Honesty

Not all business problems lend themselves to the Six Sigma process improvement methodologies, especially those that have short time lines. There are many problems that business leadership understand and should just fix. A Six Sigma improvement project typically requires one to six months for a team to complete, depending upon the complexity and scope of the problem. This is longer than acceptable for some problems. In addition, many of the tools used in Six Sigma do not apply well to problems that are not process based. Examples of these would be emergencies and relationship issues. Process improvement tools apply better to up-front planning for these situations, than to the situations themselves.