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© 2012 Skip Reedy “Cruise Control for Projects” Skip Reedy Critical Chain Project Management Theory of Constraints Jonah TOCICO Certified Critical Chain Project Management 1
© 2012 Skip Reedy 2 “There is no reliable way to measure project status until it’s too late.” Standish Group “Chaos Report”
© 2012 Skip Reedy Theory of Constraints Every system has something that limits it. If you identify the system constraint and help it, you get more output from the system. The constraint of a project is the Critical Chain. Help it to get done faster and the project gets done faster. Dr Eli Goldratt Critical Chain Project Management 3 This kink is the constraint of this simple system.
© 2012 Skip Reedy A GUIDE TO THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT BODY OF KNOWLEDGE Chapter 6 – Project Time Management Critical Path Method (CPM) 2 + pages Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) 1 + pages PMI 4
© 2012 Skip Reedy comment on PMI CCPM forum " Critical chain is crazy. It is based on an assumption that we consistently over estimate durations. My experience is that we typically under estimate durations … then [Critical Chain says to] arbitrarily reduce durations to comply with critical chain thinking …” 5
© 2012 Skip Reedy What is a Project? “A project is a combination of dependent events and statistical fluctuations, convoluted by human behavior and purported to accomplish a goal.” 6
© 2012 Skip Reedy Task estimates are needed to plan a project. The estimates together determine the project length. How long will a project take? Project managers want their tasks to be on time, because if the tasks are on time, their projects will be on time. 7 Statistical Fluctuations
© 2012 Skip Reedy How long does it take to Catch a Fish? 8 At Pike Place Market in Seattle? Estimating
© 2012 Skip Reedy Test your estimating skill! 9 Estimating a task with little information or experience. Write your estimates on the handout page. 1How long will it take a horse and rider to travel 20 miles cross country?
© 2012 Skip Reedy Occurrences Duration Estimate On-time Probability Variation in Tasks Leave Home 0 10 Commute to Downtown 50% 90% Minutes An Imaginary Curve
© 2012 Skip Reedy OptimisticLikelyPessimisticExpected 5 days10 days20 days11 Duration Estimates for Planning a Project Project Lengths 11 5 days 10 days 20 days 40 days 80 days
© 2012 Skip Reedy Subconsciously we think the probability curve doesn’t move when we increase the estimate. Probability of a longer task 12
© 2012 Skip Reedy Project Scheduling Software Turns estimates into deadlines 1/262/9 2/10 2/23 2/24 3/8 3/9 3/22 Software Schedule 3/22 Project End 1/26 Project Start Like Milestones Like Deadlines 13
© 2012 Skip Reedy means “Be NOT Late” Long estimates are self-fulfilling prophesies 14 Deadline Management
© 2012 Skip Reedy Parkinson’s Law Work expands to fill the available time when there isn’t enough to do. Deadlines and Convoluting Behaviors 15 A
© 2012 Skip Reedy The Student Syndrome Due Date Effort Time 16 Deadlines and Convoluting Behaviors
© 2012 Skip Reedy Multi-Tasking - is the worst Effort on Blue is interrupted by other projects. This is how long each task or project should take if full attention is paid to each in turn. Blue’s duration Switching projects takes time. 17
© 2012 Skip Reedy Delays caused by interruptions and switching tasks Multi-task by writing a letter, number, letter, number, … 18 MULTITASK Total Time required ______ Multi-Tasking demo
© 2012 Skip Reedy Multi-Tasking demo Do NOT Multi-task. Write all the letters, then write all the numbers. 19 MULTITASK Total Time required ______
© 2012 Skip Reedy The Student Syndrome & Multi-Tasking Effort Time 20
© 2012 Skip Reedy Or maybe like this! Effort Time The Student Syndrome & severe Multi-Tasking 21
© 2012 Skip Reedy Estimates become Actual Durations Our allowances for “stuff” become part of the actual duration 22 Task Estimate is a Number S/W schedules Start & End Dates End Date = Due Date Milestone = Deadline Human Behaviors meet Deadlines Tasks finish when Due Pick a Number, get a Duration
© 2012 Skip Reedy Lates Accumulate 3/22 Project Due Project Start 23 The probability curve and deadline move as tasks B, C & D are pushed by A. Project Due Late A Late A Pushed C Late A Pushed + C Pushed
© 2012 Skip Reedy What do we know! Yet, tasks often get done about when they are estimated. 24 We don’t know when anything will finish. Allowances for delays & problems get used up. EARLY usually doesn’t happen, and LATE often does. Being on time is hard to do.
© 2012 Skip Reedy 25 The Pony Express needs YOU!
© 2012 Skip Reedy Business Case Project Duration Short Estimates The schedule doesn’t fit the business case. This schedule fits the business case. In order to make it work, I’m asking you to use aggressive 50% durations. Critical Chain tasks However, each task must start before its predecessor ends. 26
© 2012 Skip Reedy The Critical Chain 27
© 2012 Skip Reedy Good Statistics Help the Pony Express The variability of a series of tasks is less than that of the sum of the individual task variabilities. Central Limit Theorem Series flow time probability 28
© 2012 Skip Reedy The Feeding Chains 29
© 2012 Skip Reedy Critical Chain Buffers 30
© 2012 Skip Reedy Buffer Management Fever Chart Project Fever Chart Due Late Early 31
© 2012 Skip Reedy 32 Work Rules Critical Chain Project Management Prioritize work (tasks & projects) Use aggressive task estimates Identify the Critical Chain Aggregate safety in buffers Use Buffer Management Work quickly on one task
© 2012 Skip Reedy Multi-Project Critical Chain 33
© 2012 Skip Reedy 34 Multi-Project Fever Chart
© 2012 Skip Reedy Consider Unloading Ships... (Projects) 5 ships person-days to unload each = 5 days 35
© 2012 Skip Reedy Staggering the Projects Put all five resources on ship 1 the first day, ship 2 the second day, etc. Initial Results: ShipNew (days) Old (days)Saved Nobody loses. Four of five clients done sooner. Cost = $ 0 Continuing Results: Each arriving ship is unloaded in 1 day. 36
© 2012 Skip Reedy 38 Adapted from a presentation by Stephen R. Johnson 777 Airframe Integration Team Chief Engineer (AFIT) Boeing Commercial Airplanes 38 Application of CCPM to ER Airframe Design 55% of the Airplane 85% of the Airframe 20% larger than any previous derivative 10,000 projects 1,000 people at (peak) $500,000,000 program
© 2012 Skip Reedy ER Challenges & Results Load data > 2 months late Experienced lead engineers resisted CCPM for more than 6 months 39 26% faster than its very aggressive schedule 50% reduction* in engineering errors All end-items shipped on time Improved engineering release compliance ~15% * Relative to the last 777 derivative:
© 2012 Skip Reedy 40 LR airframe design was completed 5 months earlier than a very aggressive schedule The Next Derivative with CCPM
© 2012 Skip Reedy Be EARLY, NOT LATE Critical Chain is EARLY 3 Ideas to Use Today 1.The Critical Chain is the constraint. Focus on it so it’s always being worked. 2.Pink Paper Pyramids keep the distractions away. 3.Ask 3 Status Questions: What’s going on? What are you doing about it? and Do you need any help. 41
© 2012 Skip Reedy 43 Skip is certified in Critical Chain Project Management. He is a member of the Project Management Institute and the Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization. He was with Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle as a Manufacturing Engineer and Design Engineer for 8 years and then as an internal CCPM consultant for six years. For the last eight years he is an independent project management consultant with CCPM Consulting LLC. He is a mechanical engineer from the University of Detroit with an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. He is a Theory of Constriants Jonah and is certified by TOCICO. Skip can be contacted at
© 2012 Skip Reedy 44 Marine Corps Logistics Base TOC & CCPM implementation 8 minute video is available at
© 2012 Skip Reedy Traditional Project Management Estimates become NOT LATE Task Estimates Confident estimates are long enough to get the work done, allowing for typical delays and problems. Probability as a Number An estimate is not a prediction. We don’t know how long anything will take. It’s a single number for a task that has the possibility of a range of durations. Crazy Project Management Software Project management software schedules estimates with start and end dates. End dates become due dates, and deadlines. Deadlines must be met. Convoluted Normal Behaviors Parkinson’s Law, the Student Syndrome, Multitasking, Deadlines reinforce be NOT LATE. LATEs, not EARLYs Tasks are rarely EARLY and often LATE. LATE tasks push successors to be LATE. LATEs accumulate. EARLYs don’t. Allowances are Ineffective Allowances for delays and problems (Safety, Contingency, or Buffer time) are effective against being NOT EARLY and NOT LATE. This safety is wasted. Increasing the safety makes projects longer LATE tasks encourage future estimates to be longer. Longer estimates make longer projects. Longer projects struggle to be NOT LATE. Safety in tasks creates longer projects without improving on-time results. 45
© 2012 Skip Reedy 46 Fold in 110 # card stock works well. Using a straight-edge, run a dull knife along/between the fold lines. Original Pink Pyramid Suggested warnings: What I am working on is more important than whatever it is you are about to ask me. So don’t do it! If you are delivering money, please interrupt. Management Chain Project Critical Skip Reedy For help call My brain is currently experiencing a bandwidth overload. If you intend to interrupt me, please call 911 first. I am presently in a mood most foul. Disturb at your peril. I already know what you are going to ask me. The answer is NO! Please do not disturb. Tape together close to the corners. Shameless Advertising purported to accomplish a goal. convoluted by human behavior and nt events and statistical fluctuations, A project is a combination of depende
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