Dear PM Advisor. Jan 13, 2013

Dear PM Advisor, I am working at a client to help them implement their new owner's policies and procedures since they were acquired.  I am an individual contributor and not the PM.  They are following the new owner's PM philosophy of Critical Chain Project Management.  They have purchased a tool for MS Project from ProChain.  Have you heard of this approach?  I see some issues with it and am curious to see how this will play out.  But overall I really don't see any advantage to it over our practices.  Or am I missing something?  Here is a link to the demo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Xf-waj23P8

Regards,

Unchained in Wayne, NJ

Dear Unchained,

I've always loved the critical chain technique but have been unsuccessful implementing it since it requires serious senior management support. Looking at the video, I'd say your client has an excellent opportunity for gaining the value of this wonderful technique.

First of all, I LOVE the video! In 15 minutes they completely explain the technique, the software and the management support required. If you are unclear how the system works, watch it again.

If you need me to explain it to you, I'll try to do so in my words:

  1. All tasks have an uncertainty, so those committing to task deadlines include that buffer in that duration.
  2. Buffer taken is rarely given back so tasks rarely finish ahead of schedule.
  3. Critical chain project management consolidates all those individual task buffers and puts it under the control of the PM who gives it out and takes it back from task owners as needed.
  4. People work to priorities rather than deadlines. 
  5. All projects must be prioritized for this system to work.
  6. People must be allowed to finish tasks late if priorities demand it.
  7. Project management focuses on buffer management.
The software ProChain sells allows management to focus on buffer management within prioritized projects.
 
My advice is to embrace this technique and learn all you can while you have this rare opportunity. Then let me know how you liked it. 
 
Good luck.
 
PM Advisor. 
Send your questions to Bruce@RoundTablePM.com