Project Management Institute

Planning concurrency and managing iteration in projects

Reducing cycle times, managing costs, and improving project management are key to competitive advantage. This paper introduces an approach known as the dependency structure matrix (DSM) and discusses using the DSM to design project plans that produce greater concurrency and better iteration management. The DSM focuses management attention on the essential information transfer requirements of a project: finding essential tasks vital to begin early, developing project plans having improved throughput, removing unnecessary iteration, and simplifying project reviews, while at the same time preserving or improving deliverable quality. A DSM helps us decide what to assume and how and when to plan project reviews. Assumptions are among the greatest sources of project risks. Making assumptions and their dependencies explicit is the key to controlling risk.
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