An introduction to critical chain project management

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Trophy Suite, Tally Ho! Sports & Conference Centre, Pershore Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7RN


For the second event of this session, Gary Palmer will introduce the topic of Critical Chain Project Management. This topic would be of great interest for anyone involved in running projects, programmes or portfolios, or interested in increasing the throughput of their organisation.

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is fast emerging as a major improvement in project management, dramatically improving project speed and predictability. Although currently relatively little known in the UK, it has become well-established and highly successful in America, India and Japan; to the extent that it is now used by many leading organisations including the US Military and Nasa, and has become the standard project management methodology required to be used for all government projects in Japan, approximately 20,000 projects per annum.

CCPM is now an accepted methodology by many standards organisations, including the PMI; CCPM was referenced in the PMI BoK 4th edition, and details of the method have been expanded upon in the current 5th edition.

Tea, coffee and a buffet will be available. Both members and non-members are welcome.

About the Presenter & CCPM

Gary Palmer is a project manager with Critical Point Consulting.

A synopsis of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

CCPM delivers increased project, programme and portfolio performance by improvements in planning, scheduling, execution and monitoring. This is achieved by replacing specific time-wasting and inefficient processes and practices, endemic in ‘traditional’ project management methods, with effective, efficient (and entirely logical) changed elements. Each changed elements confers a ‘local’ improvement but the power and effectiveness of CCPM really comes from the collective effect of all of the changes – each changed part enables other parts to operate more effectively and provides a greatly increased overall efficiency and powers momentum in projects, programmes and portfolios.

At the planning level CCPM identifies the key constraints and capacities of the project (including optionally at programme and portfolio levels) and ensures that these will not be overloaded, and ensures that dilution of effort by multi-tasking is kept to a minimum. At the scheduling level CCPM ensures that an optimum schedule is constructed, without excessive safety ‘padding’, whilst ensuring that the completion date is securely protected from uncertainties. During execution, CCPM methods ensure that tasks are progressed as fast as possible, ‘early finishes’ of critical tasks can be utilised to reduce the overall project execution time, and that the schedule is protected from frequent or major changes. Finally, monitoring of individual projects, as well as programmes and an entire portfolio, is made far easier by use of easily-assimilated, singular, objective, predictive, visual reports that identify trends and give early indication of projects that may be starting to head in the wrong direction.

CCPM has some very powerful statistics; An increase in speed of project completion of 20% – 50%. Productivity improvement of 30% - 60%. Throughput increase of 50% – 100%. But perhaps the most significant statistic is that greater than 90% of CCPM projects finish on, or before, their scheduled completion date. For portfolio planning this level of predictability is of immense benefit.

Although relatively little known in the UK and Europe, CCPM is not ‘new’ and is not a ‘fresh out of the box’ or recent innovation. CCPM has been under constant use and refinement since its inception in 1997.However the underlying foundations of the methodology have not changed and the ever-increasing number of implementations have proved the correctness of the methods many times over. CCPM is based on the long-standing principles known as the ‘Theory of Constraints’ (TOC) which have been used extensively to improve efficiencies in manufacturing industries since the 1980’s.