Critical Chain Project Management

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The theory of constraints says that any system will have constraints that govern its output. To focus on constraints, we follow five steps:.


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There are two types of variation. Common Cause Variation is part of the system as a whole.

Special Cause Variation has a specific source such as a team, an employee, a machine, or a circumstance. Common Cause Variation applies to projects because it affects the time needed to perform part of any project. The obvious effect will be variations stemming from the interdependence of activities. Cumulative probability effects mean that the more tasks there are, the more likely we are to get a median result. Each activity in the chain has a 50 percent likelihood of finishing within a day. Supposing that there are four activities in the chain, scheduling them to take eight days makes sense on the surface.

If we use the statistical law of aggregation , we can achieve a 90 percent probability by scheduling the activities at 50 percent of the worst-case estimate of eight days. Just to be on the safe side, we can add a two-day buffer. Thus, instead of scheduling eight days for the chain of activities, we can schedule them for six days. We also need to remember the central limit theorem. In simple terms, this means that the larger the sample, the better its chances of achieving a normal distribution. In projects, we find many tasks that have a minimum possible time needed and then the possibility of taking a lot longer that.

We saw that in the graph we looked at a little earlier on. However, the central limit theorem says that the combination of many activities would have a more symmetrical distribution than we saw in our graph. Using the central theories we just discussed, Critical Chain Project Management strives to eliminate undesired effects that make projects longer and costlier than we planned.

We know the theories. Now, we look at what CCPM addresses when compared to a traditional approach. Project managers are already very well aware that the minimum time things take and the actual time it takes to get them done can vary greatly. As a result, they tend to play it safe when it comes to time estimates. They get their information from people who already know the job that must be done.

If you return to the graph illustrating probability vs. With project participants and project managers tacking on a contingency time to be sure work will finish on schedule, overall projects end up covering a whole lot more time than they really need to. With lots of time to get things done, most people involved in a project will report timely completion.

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But about ten percent of them will report late completion. Given that the project has played safe with a 99 percent probability of timely completion, 99 percent of activities should finish on time or even earlier than expected.

16.3 Critical Chain Project Management

Why does this happen? During the semester, you probably did about one-third of what you needed to do to prepare for the exam. But in the last third of the semester, when D-Day drew nearer, you tried to get two-thirds of your studying done. Critical chain scheduling is a method that is based on resource-levelling. For any company, the perfect scenario is when there is absolutely no shortage of resources. But such situations are never the case in reality.

What is critical chain project management?

Most of the projects that are run by a company have to be managed with limited resources. Resource levelling is an important factor in any project. Critical chain scheduling can be very useful for projects that require a huge amount of resources, so that the company can manage their deliveries in an efficient manner. Since the resources are mapped out, you will know what is available for different stages of the project. This makes collaboration on tasks easier. Not very useful for smaller projects that require a quick turnaround time as it requires additional buffers at different stages of the project.

In critical path we make use of activity sequencing while in critical chain method, we use critical chain scheduling.

What is Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)? - Definition from Techopedia

The critical path method is more focused on deadlines and milestones, critical chain emphasizes resource utilization. Application of this principle has helped many IT companies bring down delivery times and ensure that the projects are completed within the pre-decided budget. It is also used to prevent overrunning of the budget and delivery times in the semiconductor industry, embedded systems projects and other high tech projects. A revolution in thinking? Forgotten your password? Forgotten your Corporate Partner username?

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