My first thought was: "Maybe even TOC can't get this much work done that fast!" My next thought was that this was quickly becoming an example of what I have learned to be "A Perfect Assignment". That is:
"High visibility; Externally mandated; Immovable deadline; No plan; Impossible! Therefore, no one will challenge how I plan to do it. Everyone thinks it can't succeed. No one wants to be anywhere near the meltdown."
Then I thought: "This one is mine! I can do it any way I want. No one will tell me a different way because then they would be responsible!"
When we got the parts list, we filtered it so assemblies would be reviewed. We had each Lead Engineer batch his assemblies in "families" and then explain his drawings to the Stress Engineer. This radically improved the process speed. It was very much like going to Santa at the shopping mall to ask for a gift without the need to sit on Santa's lap.
The first meeting with the Stress Analysts was June 1st and the last ones were on June 16th. After 78 meetings reviewing several thousand assemblies, the Stress Engineers found that everything was verified and the managers had not missed anything. All original approvals had been correct. The FAA was satisfied that all was well.
This "impossible" project was completed in 12 workdays. Scheduling the review meetings with the two Stress Engineers and 104 Lead Design Engineers turned out to be the real constraint.
- May 25, Thursday Partial list of assemblies and Engineers
- June 1, Thursday First review meeting
- June 16, Friday Reviews complete
This project could have been completed even faster with tighter scheduling.
If there's a next time I'll do it in three days.
You can read the original of this paper published under the title Projects Early and Under Budget here: http://ccpmconsulting.com/777afit-projects/.