“Critical Chain Project Management”

Photo by Ella’s Dad via Flickr – Critical Chain
CCPM. This project management framework is called CCPM. What about the concept critical path? The concept of critical path is something that you’ve probably heard a lot about if you’ve ever been exposed to project plans. The critical path is the distance between project acceptance and completion. If there are 10 tasks that the project must deliver and 8 of those tasks are critical for acceptance, then the critical path will consist of those 8 tasks. Does this make sense?
CCPM is a framework that revolves around the critical path concept. It is a scheduling technique that allows project managers to plan a project rather than just stringing tasks together to a deadline. True planning requires a lot of thought and planning to execute a project and guide it towards success. To do this, we must first understand the causes of project failure.
Why do projects fail? According to Allan Elder’s whitepaper (link above), most projects fail deadlines on time and within budget (OTOBOS), due to the following 5 reasons:
(a) We are victims to “Bad Multitasking”. We have too many tasks to do, mainly because we lack planning from our task assignor/delegator – your Manager or ‘You, Inc. – which can lead to poor task prioritization, procrastination, and burnout.
(b) Parkinson’s Law, i.e. The work expands to fill the time. Our best case scenario is the safety we have built into our estimates. We are not incentivized not to do otherwise.
(c) We are all subject to the ‘Student Syndrome’. Let’s accept that the above 2 reasons are the reason we won’t be able to finish the task by the deadline. We don’t know how it is done, but we do.
(d) Task dependence for the wrong reasons. The completion of a project is dependent on the completion of all tasks on time (task completion date), and on budget (resource availability). However, when tasks are integrated, projects are penalized for time wastage and under-commitment.
(e) Task Completion Task Delivery. We often overlook the little things that are unplanned or unforeseen and cause delays in the delivery process. The tasks completed are what measure project progress, not the task hand-offs.
CCPM is based upon the ‘Theory Of Constraints’ methodologies and has been proven to be a high-rate of success when implemented correctly. I have yet to try it, but am learning how. Begin this crucial journey with me and we’ll discover how to keep our projects on the OTOBOS path.
In my next post, I will go into more detail about how CCPM works. To understand these reasons, please read “The Five Diseases of Project Mangement” PDF. This whitepaper is worth keeping.

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