Critical Chain Method

Critical chain method is a schedule network analysis technique that will modify the project schedule by accounting for limited or restricted resources. After the project schedule network diagram is constructed using duration estimates, dependencies, and constraints, resource availability is entered into the scheduling tool. The modified schedule is calculated and you'll find that it often changes the critical path. The new critical path showing the resource restrictions is called the critical chain.

Critical chain uses both deterministic (step-by-step) and probabilistic approaches. A few steps are involved in the critical chain process:

■ Construct the schedule network diagram using activity duration estimates (you'll use nonconservative estimates in this method).

■ Define dependencies.

■ Define constraints.

■ Calculate critical path.

■ Enter resource availability into the schedule.

■ Recalculate for the critical chain.

As I stated earlier, the critical path will often change once you've entered the resource availability. That's because the critical chain method adds nonwork activities where needed as duration buffers to help manage the planned activity durations. These buffers are known as feeding buffers and they protect the critical chain schedule from slipping. A project buffer is placed at the end of the critical chain to help keep the finish date from slipping. After the buffers are added, the planned activities are then scheduled at their latest start and finish dates.

This method typically schedules high-risk tasks early in the project so that problems can be identified and addressed right away. It allows for combining several tasks into one task when one resource is assigned to all the tasks.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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