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Thread: It's not an hours problem - it's a scheduling problem.

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    100 Club Paul Munford's Avatar
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    Default It's not an hours problem - it's a scheduling problem.

    I've been in my new job as CAD manager for 3 months now. I've identified a few problems I can help my colleagues with immediately (Training, standards e.t.c) but there is an issue I'd like your advice on.


    As a company, we're pretty good at understanding how many hours we've sold on a project and how they are being used. The trouble isn't going over the sold hours. The trouble is that we are not meeting our deadlines.


    It seems to me that we are not actually using the hours we have sold. We are rushing the process by allowing our project managers to set unrealistic deadlines. Every time we miss a deadline, there is an impact on the work that is scheduled to follow. We are always on the back foot.


    What advice can you give me on managing a busy CAD schedule, to make sure that we set realistic goals and achieve them?


    Thanks in advance for your thoughts,


    Paul

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    Default Re: It's not an hours problem - it's a scheduling problem.

    Hey Paul,

    Your problem isn't unique. I can't tell you how often I have seen this before. I really don't think it's something you can completely solve overnight but make steps towards solving now, otherwise it's just going to get worse. This is what I would suggest:

    - Keep good accounting of the actual hours spent for each project. Learning from project to project where you spend most of your time will help you look for ways to expedite the process later or budget your time better.
    - Keep good accounting of all overhead time spent that can not be charged back to a project. How much time is spent on these type tasks and what can be down to reduce those hours?
    - Do lot let one person (project manager) set deadlines without consulting engineering. Yes, you may have finished a similar project in 5 days last time... but you may not have had 15 projects going on at once last time as well.
    - Allow each contributor less than the number of hours per day to work on a project. If you work an 8 hour day, budget for them to only be available for projects 6.5hrs. This is more realistic.
    - Create a program to find time savings and reward employees for finding these but also working to create the solution. (not just a suggestion box) ...Example: Use Swift Prints to print from Inventor
    - Keep track of the missed deadlines for the whole company to be aware of. Reporting out how your doing makes everyone aware how there part can either help or hinder the final goals.

    Hope these help, they may not work for you.. but from my experience they can.

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    100 Club Paul Munford's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's not an hours problem - it's a scheduling problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by cadtoolbox View Post
    Hey Paul,

    - Keep track of the missed deadlines for the whole company to be aware of. Reporting out how your doing makes everyone aware how there part can either help or hinder the final goals.
    Thanks for the good advice Thomas. Reporting that you've missed a deadline is counter-intuitive. It sounds like admitting failure. However, I guess that if I report it right, it will highlight a problem that the wider project team can help with.

    Cheers!

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    Default Re: It's not an hours problem - it's a scheduling problem.

    Don't think of it as a failure. If you hide the truth, how do you know that you need to improve?




    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Munford View Post
    Thanks for the good advice Thomas. Reporting that you've missed a deadline is counter-intuitive. It sounds like admitting failure. However, I guess that if I report it right, it will highlight a problem that the wider project team can help with.

    Cheers!

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    Default Re: It's not an hours problem - it's a scheduling problem.

    Therer are two things I'd look at, one being project management - eg the number of hours that a given project will require, and the time frame required to complete the project, and the other is resource management, eg the number of hours that resources are available/not committed to work on fresh projects. It sounds like they are out of synch right now.

    Maybe put together a weekly spreadsheet that shows graphically how many of the available hours are committed to each job already?

    Your situation kinda highlights the differences between project managers (focused on getting _their_ projects out), and cad/resource managers, who need to balance _all_ ongoing jobs.
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