Critical Chain Project

The resource manager looks at all the tasks that a given resource pool is performing and sets priorities according to the task that is most penetrating a project buffer. For example, suppose that the resource pool can work on two different tasks. One task is on a feeding path and is currently penetrating a feeding buffer. The other task is on the Critical Chain and the task is not penetrating the buffer. The priority is still on the Critical Chain task.

The information to generate the Critical Chain reports comes from the reporting, by resource, of three key pieces of information: When a task is initiated; how many days are left to complete the task; and when a task is complete. As long as senior management is performing weekly reviews, based on the up-to-date data, the resource managers become very proficient at keeping their data updated. In many Critical Chain environments, updates are performed daily with formal management reports being generated weekly.

The project manager looks at the buffer reports to quickly identify whether they are dealing with common cause or special cause variation. Any individual task that is taking longer than estimated is still within the realm of common cause variation. However, a series of tasks that have all taken much longer than expected are in the realm of special cause variation.

One rule of thumb for special cause variation deals with situations where the probability of occurrence is less than 5 percent. In Critical Chain, the assumption is that any single task has about a 50 percent probability of finishing on time. Since the probabilities are very subjective, when three or four tasks in a row are all significantly exceeding their estimates, other factors, such as risk and variability in those specific types of tasks, must also be considered.

In environments that use both Critical Chain and earned value reporting, the reporting should still be done only once, but should feed both databases.

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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