A Brief Overview
Critical Chain Project Management was developed and publicized by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt in 1997. Followers of this methodology of Project Management claim it to be an alternative to the established standard of Project Management as advocated by PMBOK® and other Standards of Project Management. This article attempts to provide a brief overview of the Principals of Critical Chain Project Management and its applicability to manage Projects across all organizations and verticals.
The Critical Chain Method has its roots in another one of Dr. Goldratt’s inventions viz. The Theory of Constraints (TOC). This Project Management Method comes into force after the initial Project Schedule is prepared, which includes establishment of the task dependencies. The evolved Critical path is reworked based on the Critical Chain Method. To do so, the methodology suggests and assumes constraints related to each task. A few of them are elaborated as under.
With the above assumptions, the Critical Path Methodology of Project Management recommends pooling of the task buffers and adding them at the end of the Critical path
The Critical Path Project Management defines three types of Buffers
As the Progress of the Project is reported the Critical Chain is recalculated. In fact, monitoring and controlling of the Project primarily focuses on utilization of the Buffers. Hence the Critical Chain Method, takes in the basic Critical Path based Project Network and Schedule and derives a completely new Schedule.
The Critical Path Project Management Methodology proves to be very effective in organizations, which do not have evolved Project Management Practices. Also, it is seen that the methodology does not advocate multi-tasking and hence in Projects with complex Schedule Networks, the results of implementing the Critical path Methodology have proven to be deterrent to the overall Project Schedule. In addition, there is no standard method, which has evolved for calculating and optimizing the Project Buffers. The Critical Path Project Management Methodology has had a fair amount of success in manufacturing domains though it has not achieved any noteworthy success in the IT Sector.
Similarly in lines with the principals of Critical Chain Methodology, the Event Chain Methodology of Project Management focuses on determining the uncertain events and the chain Reactions they propagate. It is a method of modelling uncertainties and is based on Monte Carlo Analysis, Bayesian Believe Network and other established simulation methodologies. Events when occurred can cause other events triggering an Even Chain, which will effectively alter the course of the Project. Events and Event Chains are identified and a Quantitative Analysis is performed to determine the extent of the uncertainty and the probable impact of the same on the Project. From this exercise, Critical Event Chains are evolved which have the potential to cause the most impact on the Project. Event Chain diagrams are visual representation of the Event and Event Chains and their impact.
It is clear that, neither the Critical Path Project Management Methodology nor the Event Chain Methodology can be considered as alternatives to the standard Methodology for project Management as advocated by PMBOK®. While the Critical Path Project Management Methodology can be at best used as a tool for deriving Project Schedule networks, the Event Chain Methodology for Project Management can be used as a tool for Quantitative Risk Analysis.
Critical chain project management (CCPM) is a technique of managing and planning the projects in a way that it emphasizes on the resources which are required to execute the project tasks.
Eshna is a writer at Simplilearn. She has done Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication and is a Gold Medalist in the same. A voracious reader, she has penned several articles in leading national newspapers like TOI, HT and The Telegraph. She loves traveling and photography.
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