Product development projects, like many other types of projects, often can exceed their planned schedule by 50% to 100%.
Often this is attributed to uncertainty or the unforeseen.
To compensate for this age-old dilemma, managers and project personnel have learned to compensate by adding additional time to their schedule estimates. Yet even when they do, projects still overrun their schedules.
Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is an outgrowth of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) developed by Eliyahu Goldratt to scheduling and managing manufacturing.
TOC focuses on identifying and fixing bottlenecks in order to improve the throughput of the overall system. Likewise, Critical Chain focuses on bottlenecks.
Using the Critical Chain Method, projects can be completed more quickly and with greater scheduling reliability.
The difference between traditional and Critical Chain scheduling is in how uncertainty is managed. In traditional project scheduling, uncertainty is managed by padding task durations, starting work as early as possible, multi-tasking, and focusing on meeting commitment dates.
While Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) delivers all these benefits, CCPM has yet to become the standard in the industry. In some respects, it still seems to qualify as a new technology introduction. In fact, most project manager in the service industry have never heard of it, and an awful lot of training and qualifications make no reference to it. But innovations and new ideas take time to spread.