Managing multi-project environments through constant work-in-process
This paper proposes new project control mechanisms that limit the number of active projects in multi-project environments. Incoming projects first enter a backlog list. Then, they are staggered into a network of inter-related resources in a way that maintains stable load on the system. The proposed mechanisms adapt the concept of constant work-in-process (CONWIP) that was proposed earlier in the context of production management. We report on an extensive set of simulations that were conducted with several types of projects in dynamic settings. We discuss possible preference rules for the backlog list and the resource queues within the system and demonstrate the superiority of a new rule whose objective is to achieve a dynamic balance of the loads of the various resources.