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Critical Chain In Project Management: A Quick Guide

Jason Westland
Publication date:
September 17, 2020
Article Summary: 

Critical Chain In Project Management: A Quick Guide

Project managers love a good plan that takes an overwhelming project and structures it in such a way it can be methodically executed. Several project management methodologies have been created to help teams manage their work, such as overarching methods and those that focus on specific aspects of a project. Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is a methodology to control project resources, such as people, equipment materials, locations and more. It works to keep project resources level and involves more flexibility with the start time of project tasks. The theory of constraints is the foundation of CCPM, and it is based on the adage that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

The presence of resource-dependent tasks can slow projects, so critical chain project management (CCPM) identifies and adds project, feeding and resource buffers. It monitors project progress through the metric of a consumption rate of the buffers, instead of through the measurement of task performance against the schedule. CCPM focuses on the project constraint, and starts with a work breakdown structure (WBS) and adds duration for each task. At this point, the plan can level resources to make sure none of the tasks are taking longer than the longest sequence of resource-leveled tasks from the beginning to the end of the project. Buffers are used to monitor the project schedule for this reason.

They are the difference between the best guess duration of the task and the safe guess, which offers more leeway. Stakeholders are given a delivery date which is the end of the buffer, and buffers are locked and cannot be altered during the remainder of the project. This ensures resources are accounted for and monitoring is accurate. ProjectManager and CCPM users can manage resources and keep track of tasks as they are worked on within the software.


critical chain, critical path project, critical chain project management (CCPM), critical chain scheduling, critical path analysis, critical chain methodology

Source Citation: 
Jason Westland
Critical Chain In Project Management: A Quick Guide
September 17, 2020
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