This chapter has described how to create a critical-chain plan for a single project. The steps up through creating a logic diagram with low-risk duration estimates do not change from the reference PMBOK™ approach. The critical-chain steps are as follows:
1. You should start planning a CCPM project, as you would any project, by determining the scope of work and network of tasks necessary to deliver the project scope. You can use a variety of tools to help you accomplish this.
2. You must resource-load and -level CCPM project plans before you determine the critical chain.
3. Start with estimates of duration as you usually make them and then allocate some of that estimate to the task and some to the buffer.
• Size project and feeding buffers using a method appropriate to the maturity of your organization. In most cases, it is best to start with using 50% of the preceding chain of tasks.
4. Project- and feeding-buffer trigger points determine the frequency of control action. Decide on them as part of your plan.
5. The (optional) cost buffer provides aggregated cost protection in the same way that the project buffer protects the schedule.
6. The TOC five focusing steps (identify, exploit, subordinate, elevate, prevent inertia) provide a framework for resolving environment- and project-specific issues.
Constructing a critical-chain plan is a relatively small addition to the work necessary to construct an effective critical-path plan. It may be less work and create a more useful plan if you reduce the level of detail in your plan. Even when it requires work you have not done before (e.g., resource-loading your plan), the benefit far exceeds the investment.
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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.