Critical Chain Project Management—Completing More Projects in Less Time

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Of the project managers around the world, 90 percent are using Critical Path Project Management (CPPM) and have been doing so for the last 40 years. If you ask a typical project manager about what factors delayed a completed project, most will tell you that something they didn’t expect or even had no control over cropped up in some of the tasks and delayed them and therefore delayed the project. In other words, they experienced inevitable uncertainty or Murphy’s Law. Every project from virtually every environment has uncertainty associated with it and how this uncertainty is dealt with determines the ultimate success or failure of the project. So in order for a project to be successful, there must be a way to protect it from uncertainty.

It may be surprising, but most of the problems associated with project management’s lack of success are related to behaviors. Not just individual behaviors, but organizational behaviors as well. Our solution to these behaviors is Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM). While traditional CPPM relies on individual task durations as well as scheduled start and completion dates, CCPM does not. The focus is no longer on finishing individual tasks on time, but rather starting and completing these tasks as soon as possible. CCPM measures the progress of a project much differently than CPPM and in so doing allows the project to make valuable use of early finishes.

There is no shortage of examples where organizations converting to CCPM have demonstrated anywhere from 30 to 100 percent reductions in project times, which translates into greater than 90 percent average on-time completion rates for organizations using this methodology. Our own experience with CCPM is right in line with these results. This white paper goes into detail about how to deal with five basic behaviors that lengthen projects and cause them to be late.

Bob Sproull and John Sproull