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Q. 2 What is Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)?
Ans. Critical Chain Project Management is the name of the breakthrough approach to scheduling and managing projects developed by Eli Goldratt in 1990. A significant advance over PERT/ CPM, which has been the dominant approach to PM for more than 50 years, CCPM addresses some of the most damaging phenomena in managing projects, including the cascade effect, Parkinson’s law, and multi-tasking, which drive projects to miss delivery dates, exceed budgets, and take longer than they should. What makes the approach so successful is its four essential elements.

1. Schedules are level-loaded based on the limitations of available resources (constraints). This produces the “critical chain”—the longest set of sequential tasks (due to both task dependency, and resource contention)—which dictates the shortest overall project duration.

2. Time buffers are inserted at strategic locations in the plan—at the end of the critical chain and at every point where a task intersects the critical chain—to absorb the adverse effects of uncertainty without damaging performance. To create the buffers, some of the slack time built into tasks in planning is repositioned to these strategic locations.

3. Projects are “pipelined” or staged based on resource availability to combat the cascade effect of shared resources across projects and create viable multi-project plans.

4. Buffer management is used to dynamically set task priorities in execution. As uncertainty changes the original plan, tasks are prioritized based on the buffer burn rate (the amount of buffer consumed vs. the percent of the work complete). Tasks with critical buffer penetration take precedence over those with lower burn rates.
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