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Critical Chain Project Management

Critical Chain Project Management
By Nicola Hill

One of the misconceptions that is unstated in the current Agile vs Waterfall debate is the idea that there is only one style of “waterfall”. Agile is wonderful for the creative process of working closely with a customer to deliver what they want, but is not very useful when one group of resources is spread across many projects.

When you’re dealing with a physical thing, like a data center, or an aircraft, or a new bridge, the sequence of actions becomes much more significant. And when you’ve got lots of different resources working on different projects in parallel, you will end up with some groups becoming a bottleneck. Often what ends up happening is that these key resources become spread across too many projects, constantly multi-tasking, and never able to see anything through to completion. Every time they sit down to concentrate, the phone rings, or there is an emergency, and they get diverted onto something else. Read the Complete Article

Projects With No Dates

Projects With No Dates
By Skip Reedy

In my previous article, “Why Project Management is Difficult“, I suggested that you execute your project plan without it displaying any dates. Why was that? Because people work to dates. If something must be done by the end of next week, most people will get it done by the end of next week, even if they could get it done tomorrow.

This is due to a Syndrome and a Law. The Student Syndrome that you probably practiced to perfection in a previous life, is still alive and well in your life today. You have so much going on that you can’t get going on the new task until you just have enough time to complete it.

If you are not quite that busy, Parkinson’s Law will help you to use all the time allotted even if it isn’t needed. First, there is no pressure. Read the Complete Article

Transition to Critical Chain Multi-Project Management

Transition to Critical Chain Multi-Project Management
By Skip Reedy

The transition from traditional project management to Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) in a multi-project environment presents a formidable problem with projects of long duration. A simple method is presented for that transition and provides the metrics necessary to directly encourage and cement the behaviors needed for Critical Chain Multi-Project Management. This paper assumes the reader is familiar with CCPM.

The Multi-Project Implementation

This paper focuses on the period of time from planning the first Critical Chain (CC) project, the cut-over project, to completion of the last traditionally managed project. This can be a long period of time before the company has fully implemented Critical Chain Project Management. Theory of Constraints (TOC) practitioners involved in Critical Chain Mulit-Project Management (CCMPM), often find this transition to be the toughest part of an implementation.

The Implementation Conflict

In order to successfully implement Critical Chain Multi-Project Management, we must obtain support for it. Read the Complete Article

Critical Chain Project Management: History and Value

Critical Chain Project Management: History and Value
By William R. Duncan

Are there some good ideas being put forth by the advocates of CCPM? Yes. Are they new and innovative ideas? Not as far as I can tell.

CCPM has its antecedents in something called the Theory of Constraints (TOC). TOC borrows heavily from systems dynamics (developed by Jay Forrester at MIT in the 1950s) and from statistical process control (which dates back to World War II). The two key tenets — think in terms of systems with complex interactions rather than in terms of unidirectional flows, and find and fix the big problems first — are absolutely the right approach, but they are also old news to experienced project managers.

In applying TOC to project management, CCPM follows the same trend — some good ideas presented as new insights. Here are a few of the good ideas:

  • Make sure your schedule reflects resource availability and not just activity dependencies.
Read the Complete Article

The Critical Path Method and Wrong Project Scheduling

The Critical Path Method and Wrong Project Scheduling
By Shim Marom

One of the key techniques project managers use to monitor and control progress on their projects is the Critical Path Method (CPM). This method, promoted by the PMI through its PMBoK, is meant to assist the project manager in identifying areas of high risk on the project. Given that, by definition, the Critical Path consists of the activities that have no float (or slack) and as such (again, by definition) a delay in any of these activities will cause a delay to the project’s planned completion date.

In order to ensure that the project does not miss its deadline, project managers are encouraged to protect the Critical Path by monitoring progress against plan and taking corrective and/or mitigating actions in order to ensure critical path activities are complete on time.

To illustrate the above comment let’s review the following example:

Resourced Level Project Schedule

Resource leveled project schedule

In this overly simplified example, we have a schedule with 10 activities that have been leveled to ensure optimal use of assigned resources. Read the Complete Article

Critical Chain Method (CCM) – A Short Definition

Critical Chain Method (CCM) – A Short Definition
By Sivaraj Dhanasekaran

Schedule Network Analysis is one of the tools and techniques of Schedule Development process. Critical Chain Method is one of the method used to perform Schedule Network Analysis.

This method is used to prepare the project schedule when limited or restricted resources are available.

In this method, the PM usually schedule all or most of the high risk or critical activities in the earlier stage of the project schedule. This allows the critical tasks to be completed early as well as gives buffers to handle unexpected problems if arises. Also the PM will combine several tasks in to one task and assign one resource to handle all.

The steps involved:

  1. Construct the Schedule Network Diagram
  2. Define dependencies
  3. Define constraints
  4. Calculate critical path for the project
  5. Apply resource availability

The critical path will change once the resource availability has been applied. Read the Complete Article

Advantages of The Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

Advantages of The Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)
By Umesh Dwivedi

According to the PMBOK the Critical Chain Method is a schedule network analysis technique that modifies the project schedule to account for limited resources. It mixes deterministic and probabilistic approaches to schedule network analysis. The critical chain concept was coined by Eliyahu Goldratt. This article describes the advantages of applying the Critical Chain Method.

CCPM inherits the advantages of:

  • PMBOK: Planning and control processes.
  • TOC (Theory of Constraints): Remove bottleneck to resolve constraints.
  • Lean: Eliminate waste.
  • Six Sigma: Reduce Variations.

CCPM helps to overcome the following phenomena:

  • Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the available time.
  • Student Syndrome: People start to work in full fledge only when deadline is near.
  • Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong will go wrong.
  • Bad Multi Tasking: Bad multitasking can delay start of the successor tasks.

CCPM is based on:

  • Resource constrained situations.
  • Optimum use of Buffer: Amount of time added to any task to prevent slippage of schedule.
Read the Complete Article

Critical Path Method and Critical Chain Project Management

Critical Path Method and Critical Chain Project Management
By Umesh Dwivedi

The project schedule is responsible for bringing project time, cost and quality under control. The project schedule links resources, tasks and time line together. Once a Project Manager has the list of resources, the work breakdown structure (WBS) and the effort estimates, s/he is good to go for planning project schedule. The schedule network analysis helps the Project Manager to prevent undesirable risks involved in the project. The Critical Path Method (CPM) and Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) are key elements of schedule network analysis. Below is a definition of these elements.

Critical Path Method (CPM)

The Critical Path Method (CPM) is a schedule network analysis technique. CPM was developed by the DuPont Corporation in 1957.Critical path determines the shortest time to complete the project and it is the longest duration path through a network of tasks. Critical tasks (activities) are tasks (activities) on the critical path. Read the Complete Article

Critical Chain Method/CCM of Project Planning and Control

Critical Chain Method/CCM of Project Planning and Control
By Dr.Russell Archibald

The critical chain method has emerged in the past few years and is embraced by some practitioners as a significant advance in the state of the art of project planning, scheduling and control. Others take the position that it is not significantly different from the critical path method/CPM, when that method is effectively used. CCM builds on the familiar CPM network planning technique in the following ways:

  • Resources and ‘Resource Buffers’: CCM focuses more intensively on resource constraints in creating the network plan logic. It identifies quantified resource buffers to assure that critical resources will be available when required to avoid project delays. Quantified resource buffers are certainly a new addition to project planning and control practices, although some would argue that they are basically the same as the ‘management reserves’ that have long been used in the application of CPM.
Read the Complete Article

Critical Chain Benefits From Traditional PM

Critical Chain Benefits From Traditional PM
By Josh Nankivel

Today I was trying to think of ways to integrate some of the methods and benefits of Critical Chain project management into the traditional PM methodology most companies use. I wanted to pick out one element of CC that would potentially yield the most benefit without much, if any, additional overhead to the project manager. Perhaps this has been written of before, but I haven’t come across it. Most of the CC proponents I’ve come across have an all-or-nothing mentality, so they wouldn’t normally write about this kind of hybrid approach. Here’s what I came up with.

Parkinson’s Law

One of the deadliest risks for slipping on schedule is Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands to fill (and often exceed) the time allowed”. I don’t believe that people on the project are lying around doing nothing because they think they have so much time (like a student might). Read the Complete Article

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Recommended PM App

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