Forecasting has always been a subject of interest to all project management teams. Team have used multiple methods (from detailed MS Project scheduling to Earned Value Management) to try and estimate when a project will finish. People spend a lot of effort to come with one precise hard date knowing fully well how their past predictions have failed, how their assumptions have been invalidated, etc.

If one were to discuss further with a Project Manager, they will understand that there is a level of confidence that a Project Manager associates with this date.  Perhaps, he is very confident (90% - it is rarely 100%)! It could be even as low as 60-70% depending on the number of issues and risks in the project. In other words, an end date is always associated with a probability, which we in our management talk and presentations, ignore or fail to highlight. In reality, a Project Manager would like to say - I am 70% confident that can deliver this scope of work within the next 3 months but 90% confident that I can deliver this in the next 4 months.

Kanban systems predict the future by extrapolating current throughput on the present backlog. Most Kanban tools use the CFD for the same. This gives you the gap between the rate at which you need to finish your work versus the rate at which you are finishing work at present. Like MS Project, it also gives one date when this backlog will finish, assuming current throughput.

Fact is that future is not definitive! Project risks change, requirements change, team resources change... the list goes on! So, just like this inadequate for traditional tools, it is inadequate to limit ourselves to this analysis in the Kanban Method also.

This session, using Kanban Tool, will demonstrate:

  1. The use of probabilistic theory to have a confidence % associated with a particular delivery date
  2. Once you know the gap between the current throughtput and the desired throughput, what resourcing changes can be done to bridge this gap. While it is understood that resourcing is not the only option to bridge the gap, it is perhaps the most commonly used method. 

This approach has been vetted by David Anderson and has been presented in the LSSC 2013 conference by one of my colleagues.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Demonstration

  1. Explain the background the business problem that we are trying to solve
  2. Do a demonstration of how a simulation approach can be used to forecast

Learning Outcome

The use of simulation models in the Kanban method to forecast a project end date with confidence levels.

Target Audience

Delivery Managers, CXOs

schedule Submitted 7 years ago

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