Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) was introduced in 1997 in Dr. Goldratt’s book, Critical Chain. The critical chain is the longest chain of dependent resourced tasks in the project. The solution aims to protect the duration of the project, and therefore, completion date, against the effects of each task’s structural and resource dependency, variation, and uncertainty. The outcome is a robust approach that enables completion of projects on-time, every time, and within budget. The shorter duration provides a huge opportunity to deliver more projects over all, in the same amount of time, and same operating expenses, thereby significantly improving the bottom line.

CCPM solution aims at removing some of existing behaviours that are harmful to the goal of the project, such as bad multitasking, student syndrome and Parkinson’s Law.

It is common for resources to be required to switch between tasks on multiple projects or within the same project. Such multitasking usually extends the duration of all projects and, therefore, is considered bad multitasking. Bad multitasking occurs when switching tasks does not help any project
finish earlier.

Preventing bad multi-tasking is the single largest contributor in reducing project lead time. In project management, Full Kit refers to the process of clarifying requirements, getting approvals, staging materials, etc. for the project, before the project is released for execution. The discipline of not starting without Full Kit helps hugely in preventing bad multi-tasking. For some projects, we can define different level of Full Kit for different stages of the project.

Student syndrome refers to the human tendency of failing to start a task, even though the start date has passed, because there appears to be plenty of time before the seemingly distant due date.

Parkinson’s Law refers to the phenomenon of work expanding so as to fill the time available for its completion. CCPM attempts to reduce its impact by using significantly reduced task time estimates and getting frequent estimates of time remaining until completion.

CCPM methodology of planning projects focuses on the following:

  • A plan, or project network, that includes all task and resource dependencies as well as time estimates with safety removed
  • How to create a schedule showing the critical chain and the buffers
  • Identifying expediting and improvement activities based on buffer management
  • In multi-project environment, how to determine the staggering of projects based on the resource whose capacity or capabilities

Results that can be expected with the help of CCPM:

  • 20-40% faster completion of projects
  • Meeting delivery timelines and budget commitments
  • Clear priority system across the organization
  • Harmony and flow among the team members