Improving Upon Conventional Methods
“A project is a combination of dependent events and statistical fluctuations, convoluted by human behavior, and purported to accomplish a goal.”
Traditional Project Management takes a very detailed view of projects. Looking at the details of projects through a magnifying glass, the hope is that by controlling individual tasks we will gain control over the project as a whole.
Unfortunately, better control somehow remains elusive. Pressure to keep each task on schedule is intense, as project managers must watch each and every one of them. This makes it difficult for them to recognize that some tasks are more important than others.
Reacting to problems and determining an estimate of when the project will actually finish becomes challenging.
A national study by a project management research group concluded that, with conventional methods, “There is no reliable way to measure project status until it’s too late.” (Standish Group, 1998)
Critical Chain Project Management looks at a project as a system, not as a collection of tasks.
With a system view, the most important date is the project due date. Each resource works quickly on one task at a time and hands it off as soon as it’s done.
The high priority tasks are those that have a direct impact on the project due date. If the highest priority tasks are worked on first, the project will complete in a minimum of time.
A project buffer at the end of the project protects the project due date from variation in task durations.
The result is that projects complete 25 – 50% sooner. Stress decreases, yet processes and resources do not change.
Critical Chain Project Management’s speed and dependability are not due to miracles or compromises, but to knowing where to focus and by using the safety to protect the due date.