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Critical chain project management (CCPM)

Critical Chain Project Management

Critical Chain Project Management CCPM Certification course 2023 is a method of planning and managing projects that specializes on handling uncertainties. It was developed by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.

It differs from more traditional methods that derive from critical path and PERT algorithms, which emphasize task order and rigid scheduling. A critical chain project network strives to keep resources levelled, and requires that they be flexible.

Customers who practice CCPM typically report the following performance improvements :

  • Lead time reduced by 20-50%
  • Due date performance increased to above 95%
  • Cost reductions of 10-30%
  • Quality products and services delivered without compromising value

In addition to the business benefits, Critical Chain Project Management also delivers these cultural benefits:

  • Stress reduction for staff at every level
  • Increased job satisfaction, motivation and morale
  • Improved communication, collaboration and teamwork
  • Win-win solutions providing professional and personal growth

Source : http://www.novaces.com/ccpm.php

Recognizing its potential Proventures have adopted this vertical since 2008 and later joined hands with Prochain https://www.prochain.com/ as a preferred tool for managing projects with this revolutionary concept.

As a project management professional, it would be good for you to understand the concept, challenges, solutions being offered through this methodology and the tools to implement before taking a decision to invest. We will understand these elements in a nutshell in the following narrative.

TOC Concept and CCPM as a derivative
CCPM is built on the Theory Of Constraints (TOC) which can be stated in a simplest statement as below:

Every organization and system can be seen as a Chain with its business processes as links. In order to optimize the system, we need to identify the bottleneck processes and improve their efficiency. It is an iterative process to improve the overall system throughput and it is typically taken up through a Continuous Improvement Journey.

This continuous improvement approach / journey involves the following steps as shown in the figure.

When it comes to projects and project management, if we consider schedule as the inflexible constraint and our primary objective towards project success, the weakest link is its critical path.

CCPM adoption – Is this an Art or Science

We normally say project management is an art and science.

The people dimension of Project Management involves interpersonal, leadership skills, stakeholder engagement and communication.

The science of project management involves creating work breakdown structure, schedules, estimating resources and cost, assessing and managing risks etc. Effective project management involves integrating managing both these dimensions.

Critical chain project management blend both these dimensions beautifully to achieve the objectives of the project. However, it involves significant shift in terms of organization culture and behaviour of the team and stakeholders. Often, we set deadlines, put threshold in many parameters such as dates, duration, work, cost etc and strict escalations in order to remain in control. Have these measures ever ensured success? Often times the answer is ‘No’.

Most of the activities that we perform in projects involves elements of uncertainties at each activity level. Hence, we always come across the following three scenarios :

Best case, Normal case and Worst case.

In a project where deadline drives the schedule, normal tendency for the people is to hold the position “ don’t be late”. In order to protect such commitments, the team members tend to give estimates between median and worst case. This is how buffers get built into estimating process at every level of estimation along the project and organization hierarchy. When these estimates are rolled up to the project level, it amounts to anywhere between 50% and 80%. Also, they seldom consider the best case scenario.

What happens when a project is approved with a built in buffer of 50%?

We observe the following three behavioural patterns being demonstrated by the people involved in the project:

  • Students Syndrome
  • Parkinson Syndrome
  • Multitasking/Trigger Happy Syndrome

The students’ syndrome: First fight for safety time. When you get it, you have enough time, so why hurry? We get down to the business at the last minute. The picture below shows 60% of the work completed within the last one week.

Parkinson syndrome : People tend to keep working on a task even though it could be completed earlier- especially when there is lack of clarity on what makes a task complete. Fill the time so that we are seen a active and not idle. If completed earlier, the comfort zone is lost and in the next project estimates could be revised!

Multitasking: In most of the organizations and in most of the projects multi-tasking is a normal phenomena that impacts the overall time to market strategy. We don’t realize that by multitasking, every project gets delayed. In addition to this, while switching tasks between projects there is always a ‘set-up’ and ‘set-down’ time that gets wasted.

What is the solution?

Now let us look at the solution to this complex problem….

  • The solution begins with empowering the team members, vendors and partners to consider the uncertainties involved in every activity and the associated opportunities and threats and encourage them to give a range estimate for each activity instead of single, deterministic estimate.
  • Then we bring in a scheduling tool to build a simulation model. We use Prochain to build CCPM models. This tool is built on Microsoft project.Microsoft project calculates the early/late start /finish dates and associate float information and indicate the critical path.
  • Prochain summarises the buffer along the critical and the non-critical path activities and modifies the schedule by adding the additional tasks named feeding buffer and project buffer. The duration of these buffer tasks can also be modified by the project team based on their subjective, contextual assessment.

This method of monitoring helps to keep the focus on the project completion as per defined objectives rather than activity completion which is called as local optima.

When a project schedule is modelled and monitored like this, the result is no surprise but positive. We see uncertainties as opportunities rather than threats. Hence, any organization that practice CCPM certification course remain as a leader in their respective domains.
For example our partners M/S Prochain reports the following statistic https://www.prochain.com/
  • Half the top 10 pharma companies in the world practice CCPM in their strategic project
  • Half the top 10 semiconductor companies in the world practice CCPM in their strategic project
  • Half the top 10 medical device companies in the world practice CCPM in their strategic project

Proventures partners with Prochain to bring this revolutionary concept and the application to improve the delivery performance to their customers.
Critical chain project scheduling can be applied in any domain. Proventures provides process consulting, Prochain software licences, implementation, training and support.
Ask for a 2-day workshop to learn more about this exciting concept and software and we encourage you to pilot within a program. We can help you for a quick adoption. To know more about the training program, agenda etc please click here.
Some of the clients whom we trained and implemented Prochain are:
  • Hindustan shipyard, Visakhapatnam
  • Microsoft India Private Limited
  • NICMAR, Pune
  • Cetas Healthcare Private Ltd, Mumbai
  • ITC Limited (Paper Boards and Speciality Papers division), Bhadrachalam

For more information, free demo or proposal please contact: [email protected].
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Critical chain project management (CCPM)


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