Managing Tipping Point Dynamics in Single Development Projects
Ford, David N.
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Previous system dynamics work models the tipping of a series of product development projects into fire-fighting mode in which rework overwhelms progress. Similar dynamics also threaten the performance of individual development projects. The current work extends previous tipping point dynamics research to single projects and demonstrates how a simple, common feed-back structure can cause complex tipping point dynamics, trap projects in deteriorating modes of behavior, and cause projects to fail. Basic tipping point dynamics in single projects are described, analyzed, and demonstrated with the model. Previous researchers have recommended dynamic resource allocation policies to improve project performance threatened by tipping point dynamics. Several strategies for managing projects near tipping points were tested. Policies that were successful in preventing tipping point-based project failure include forecasting demand-based resource policies, policies that provided flexible resource adjustments, and policies that adjusted project deadlines based upon project performance.
Proceedings Paper (for Acquisition Research Program)
NPS Report NumberNPS-PM-06-084
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