Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) In a Nutshell

  • 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.  
In short, CCPM allows you to:
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Grade Your Organization’s True Project Management Prowess

Have you ever heard from you team….
“Project management change is not needed because we already know how to run projects efficiently.”
Or
Have you ever been relieved that you team embraced a new project management approach only to realize months later that they did not actually execute the new approach?
Project managers who have excellent work track records based on hitting milestones don’t think they need to change. However, simply hitting deadlines hardly tells the full story. Like cruise control, the project will speed up if it running late (by team members working hard to get it back on track, sometimes working weekends and evenings to make it happen), or slow down if the project is early (people relax, maybe shuffling resources to do something more urgent). Projects seek equilibrium around their dates – there is pressure to move things earlier and later. Most project organizations are self-correcting as they try to hit their dates. What actually had to take place to get there is hidden from view, and there is no impetus to finishing projects faster. (The Tyranny of Deadlines, Rob Newbold)
Additionally, too often when you share a new direction with your team, the people in the room will appreciate your logic for change. They may agree with you intellectually. And yet there is a more emotional side of them that has grown comfortable with the old way of doing things. They’ve been practicing routine A for years. They are very good at routine A. Now you’re trying to get them to change to routine B. Even if they agree that B is better than A, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy the next day (Dan Heath).
The urge to resist having to learn this new way of doing things is powerful.
So you may think you have a successful project management approach, but do you really know? Use this questionnaire to find out how you are really fairing.

Why You Should Build Your Own Process Management Solutions

It is crucial for knowledge workers to build their own process management solutions.
The health, competitive power, and even survival of an enterprise largely depends on its ability to understand and harness the power of knowledge workers who are enabled to take responsibility for providing automatic solutions to meet many of their business needs.
– IBM System Journal, SOA Meets Situational Applications: Examples and Lessons Learned
The speed and efficiency of a responsive organization can only occur if people think for themselves and control their own actions. The notion that some central person can do all the thinking for everyone is a quaint idea from the days of the industrial revolution, when we lived in a slower, simpler and more predictable world.
– Michael Hugos, Business Agility: Sustainable prosperity in a relentlessly competitive world
 
Knowledge workers are required to make decisions and judgments based on their knowledge.
Process Management Solutions
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Bridging the Salesforce process gap between users and developers

Ideas for new solutions will spring from half-baked applications created by lay users who may start down the path toward a solution, but may lack the expertise to finish it.
– Andy Mulholland, Chris S. Thomas, and Paul Kurchina, Mashup Corporations: The End of Business as Usual
Looking to bridge the Salesforce process gap?
There are going to be times when users need someone with analyst skills to help them better define a complex application. There are also going to be times when IT or third-party developers will need to be engaged to code some specific functionality for an application.
This is the role of the Salesforce process analyst.
A Salesforce process analyst helps translate a user’s requirements into terms, model the data needed to support the application, and help translate complex business logic. The situational process analyst works with IT on behalf of users to secure access to corporate data as needed, and to work with users to write specifications for custom functionality.
Salesforce process gap – A bridge to IT
It is true that there often will be the need for some coding to complete a robust application. Therefore, the platform does not seek to exclude IT or code – it makes it easy for IT and business developers to work together collaboratively to reach their goals.
 
salesforce process gap The Salesforce App Cloud framework ensures that users don’t hit a wall by providing a bridge to IT.
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Process Management on Salesforce App Cloud with Shadow IT

Citizen developers are here to stay and will fundamentally change the future of IT work. How you embrace them will determine the future of IT within your organization and define the role IT plays in the creation of new innovative business practices.
– Mike Rollings (Gartner), Citizen Development: Reinventing the Shadows of IT

In need of Shadow IT?

It is becoming easier than ever for a business to procure cloud-based services without IT involvement. If IT doesn’t add value, business units will simply work around it, and that would lead to a much smaller and less impactful corporate IT resource. On the other hand, by working with users to provide them with an effective way to develop and deploy solutions, IT can greatly expand its reach and enhance its value.
Salesforce App Cloud provides opportunities for IT to:
  • Put business solutions in the hands of the business. The more business users are empowered to build their own solution (or to at least frame them out to a point where someone else can finish it), the stronger the result will be.
  • Cultivate good corporate citizens. Steering citizen developers to the most supportable and upgradeable techniques—through governance—enhances the long-term value of their solutions.
  • Reduce IT burden. By empowering citizen developers to make their own customizations confidently without posing risk to the environment, IT becomes free to focus on more value-added projects. And, when fully engaged users ask for help, their requests are likely to be better thought out and more realistic for the benefit of the SharePoint platform.
  • Enhance the IT/business relationship. In many organizations, IT is increasingly viewed as overhead or a roadblock, not an enabler – hence the rise of citizen development. Through a legitimized citizen development program, IT can better understand what the business needs and wants, while giving users the freedom to build preferred solutions on their own timelines.
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What’s wrong with project management? Project Management Pain

I know coaches who spend seventeen hours planning the perfect game only to lose because the shape of the football isn’t round and they can’t control the bounce.
BUD GRANT, COACH

Got project management pain?

To understand the limitations of project management practices, we must examine the concepts and assumptions that support them.   Contemporary project management is based on these assumptions – which cause project management pain:
  1. The natural world functions like a machine – the world is mechanistic.   This is the idea of ‘the clockwork universe’.
  2. We can observe and rely on predictable cause-and-effect relationships – the world is deterministic. In this vein, project managers develop the project plan and know that executing it will bring about the end product.  They apply this understanding to a PM Tool where the outcome of an action is predictable and repeatable and outcomes (outputs) scale in proportion to inputs (ie more effort results in a larger or quicker output). The most obvious manifestation of this idea is the‘ critical path schedule’ one key assumption in traditional CPM is that task durations change predictably based on the level of resources applied to the task. 
  3. The future is controllable. Traditional project management material operates under the principle that all human systems are inherently mechanical in nature. Traditional thinking believes that all systems have predictable outputs based upon controlled inputs. This thinking is so embedded in Western thought that the project manager often forgets that there are significant uncontrollable factors in any given system. Project managers tend to ignore this material because it is considered either an aberration to the norm or simply a possibility so remote that it can be discounted as unimportant.
  4. Anything that is complex can be dissected into smaller parts and understood – the world is reductionist (i.e. the whole is equal to the sum of its parts). (WBS) The idea of ‘reductionism’; the characteristics (and behaviors) of a complicated entity can be understood by studying the characteristics of it parts. The underlying assumption being complex things can always be reduced or explained by understanding the simpler more fundamental elements from which they are assembled. Consequently, it is generally assumed the project’s goals and objectives can be decomposed and fully understood using techniques such as the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). 
  5. And finally, the world is rationalistic (as opposed to an empirical approach in which knowledge is gained through experience). Project management is a series of learnable processes and skills that could be applied to any new project regardless of the industry, enterprise, or society.
  Want to understand critical change project management? Request a copy of our white paper.