July 31, 2010

Critical Chain Project Management

Critical Chain Project Management

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is a method of planning and managing projects that puts more emphasis on the resources required to execute project tasks. It is an application of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to projects. The goal is to increase the rate of throughput (or completion rates) of projects in an organization. Applying the first three of the five focusing steps of TOC, the system constraint for all projects is identified as resources. To exploit the constraint, tasks on the critical chain are given priority over all other activities. Finally, projects are planned and managed to ensure that the critical chain tasks are ready to start as soon as the needed resources are available, subordinating all other resources to the critical chain.

For specific projects, the project plan should undergo Resource Leveling, and the longest sequence of resource-constrained tasks is identified as the critical chain. In multi-project environments, resource leveling should be performed across projects. However, it is often enough to identify (or simply select) a single "drum" resource—a resource that acts as a constraint across projects—and stagger projects based on the availability of that single resource.

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