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Critical Chain v's Traditional Project Management


The Problem with Traditional Project Management Methods


Year on year many organisations find themselves continually struggling to deliver projects in full, on-time and to cost and quality. This is not because the company or its personnel are poor performers, or the technicalities are overwhelming, or the customers are too demanding, it is because the methods in use (mostly unchanged since the 1960s) contain processes and methods that actually cause projects to run inefficiently.


These are the root cause of the poor performance in most projects


Critical Chain addresses each of the multiple areas in 'traditional project management' that cause these inefficiencies and create the poor performance. These include:


  • Ineffective use of Contingency
  • Critical Path Method
  • Multi-tasking
  • Ineffective Progress Reporting
  • Poor Project Monitoring
  • Deadline-driven Schedules
  • Schedule Volatility


Ineffective use of Contingency

Embedded, task-level contingency has multiple drawbacks; often causing greatly extended schedules, being open to Parkinson's Law and being effectively 'hidden' and unmanaged time. But the greatest problem is that task-level contingency only protects the individual task - NOT the whole project. Thus even if 99% of the projects tasks complete on-time, it need only take one late, critical task to delay the whole project.


CCPM uses a Project-level contingency 'buffer' which protects the whole project.


Critical Path Method

Critical Path is a very useful tool to determine the longest set of dependent tasks in a project. But it does not include resources in its calculations. Without the inclusion of resource constraints the project schedule will not accurately represent a true, viable and deliverable situation. This can cause the creation of an unrealistic schedule and set a project on the wrong track.


CCPM includes resources constraints to develop an accurate schedule right from the start.



Multi-tasking appears to create a situation where everyone is busy and productive. However the reality of the situation is that every additional task that is started simply slows down the delivery of all tasks.


CCPM mandates minimal multi-tasking.


Ineffective Progress Reporting

Task-level progress reporting is conventionally reported as 'percentage complete' and on extended reporting periods. This does not provide an accurate or useful statement of the real situation and task progress is often simply a reflection of the time so far used, potentially hiding a problem situation that doesn't then surface until late on, and characterised by the recurring '90% Complete' situation.


CCPM has frequent updates using a reassessment of each task's 'Remaining Duration'.


Poor Project Monitoring

Conventional project monitoring is built on historic metrics - percentage complete, time used, position against baseline, milestones achieved etc. These give very little information on the future and trends, and the information is often difficult to present clearly and unequivocally and is potentially subjective and exposed to manipulation.


CCPM uses forward-looking metrics to establish future performance and trends, and is presented in a single, clear, objective, unequivocal and instantly available form.


Deadline-driven Schedules

Conventional project schedules require completion of every task to specific times. When the time allowed (estimated) is generous, then Parkinson's Law behaviours will tend to simply use up the time - even if the task could have been completed earlier - thus losing potential gains in execution time.


CCPM implements an environment where task completion is achieved 'as fast as possible', removing Parkinson's Law problems and making the most of time gains to shorten project execution. 


Schedule Volatility

Due to the combination of all of the above 'Conventional Project' characteristics, it is common for the schedule to require continuous changes and updating. This is time-consuming to achieve and continually requires re-assessment and changes of task priority and allocation, as well as often resulting in frequent changes of project completion dates or re-working to avoid delayed completion.


The net effect of the combination of the individual CCPM methods (as above) greatly reduces the need for schedule changes, enabling far less time spent in rescheduling and stable completion dates.



CCPM Additional Benefits:

Although CCPM's prime focus is on fast project delivery, the additional benefits that come as a result of the methodology are many


 Improved Throughput - Greater Productivity - On Time Delivery - Planning Predictability - Stable Schedules - Reduced Stress - Better Work Environment - Improved Quality - Reduced Re-work - Clear Reporting - Reduced Management Effort - Consistent Results - Increased Profitability - Improved Cash Flow - Reduced Costs



CCPM Scalability

CCPM is scalable from a single project through entire programmes to entire Enterprise-wide implementation. 


CCPM is simply the most effective and efficient way to manage project, programme and portfolio scheduling and execution.

See our CCPM Resources pages for how and where to get more information on CCPM.

Contact us…

E: info@criticalpoint.co.uk

T: +44 (0)1892 506881

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Quick Links...

Project Management:

    CCPM Overview

    CCPM Results

    CCPM More Information

    CCPM Education

    CCPM Resources


Operations Management:

   DBR Overview

   DBR More Information  

   DBR Education

   DBR Resources


Supply Chain:

   DD/MRP Overview

   DD/MRP Education

   DD/ MRP Resources


Enterprise Management:

   TOC Enterprise Management


Finance & Measurement

   Throughput Accounting

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