What can the grocery store teach us?

Discussion created by Dale_Stockman Champion on Aug 27, 2014

The article at More is not merrier - Economic Times describe some of the issues when managing projects in a multi-project environment.  It utilizes the image of a grocery store to describe an NPD (New Product Development) environment - where the people shopping are the many project managers, performing many different tasks as they shop.


At some point, all must flow through the check out lanes - a set of shared resources, that could be a test lab or software group in an NPD environment.


It seems to me that there are two requirements flowing from this imagery in this article:

  1. A manager (resource manager) need to see an aerial view of the checkout process area - are the shared resources being used effectively?  Is multi-tasking avoided?  Are the queues working?  Or, does chaos reign?
  2. A shopper (project manager) needs a similar view, for estimating how long it will take them to get their basket (task) through checkout, so that they can predict when their shopping trip will be complete (hit the customer due date).  Can I get through in time?  Do I have too many items?  Is another line moving faster?  Should I leave my cart and go to a different store?


This seems, for the resource manager, to be a problem of 'queued task management' - not project management.  Perhaps this is part of a 'work request' solution, where the project manager would queue (submit) the task and the resource manager would schedule the task, providing an estimate of the duration, finish and tentative resource assignment.


Interested in understanding if this problem is shared by others, and if anyone is managing it well with Clarity.  If yes, how are you using out of the box features or did you have to configure new features?