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C8l1lCAL CPAln Anu C8l1lCAL A1P, CAn 1PL? CCLxlS1?

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LxLCu1lvL SuMMA8?
!"#!$%&' 1hls paper ls a comparlson and conLrasL of Lwo pro[ecL managemenL plannlng and execuLlon meLhodologles:
crlLlcal paLh meLhodology (CM) and Lhe crlLlcal chaln pro[ecL managemenL (CCM). lL shows whaL each offers for
pro[ecL performance and provldes declslon makers wlLh a foundaLlon Lo make lnformed cholces on Lhe employmenL of
each.
()&%*%' lf properly deslgned, Lhe CM and CCM meLhodologles can coexlsL ln pro[ecL-based organlzaLlons, however,
CM offers no execuLlon meLhodology and should subordlnaLe Lo CCM durlng execuLlon ln order Lo achleve Lhe hlghesL
probablllLy of on Llme, on-scope, and on-budgeL pro[ecL dellvery.
+!!#$+,)' We begln by examlnlng Loday's reallLy LhaL mosL pro[ecLs do noL flnlsh on Llme, on-scope, and on budgeL.
We ouLllne Lyplcal fallures ln plannlng and execuLlon as well as some of Lhe execuLlon challenges and obsLacles LhaL
organlzaLlons encounLer. We Lhen ldenLlfy and deflne Lhe characLerlsLlcs of plannlng and execuLlon LhaL have proven
mosL effecLlve ln negoLlaLlng Lhese challenges.
+-+./%*%' We compared CM and CCM agalnsL Lhe characLerlsLlcs of a rellable plannlng and execuLlon process. We
Lhen dlscuss where confllcLs mlghL arlse when Lhe Lwo meLhodologles are used ln concerL. Comparlson resulLs:
,$-,."%*$-%' CCM ls a superlor soluLlon when graded agalnsL Lhe characLerlsLlcs of rellable plannlng and execuLlon
process. Where oLher exLernal facLors may make lL lmposslble Lo fully dlsengage from Lhe crlLlcal paLh meLhod, we've
ouLllned a case where CM and CCM can coexlsL. 1o provlde opLlmal resulLs and avold confllcLs durlng execuLlon, Lhls
coexlsLence musL be properly deslgned.
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LxpllclLly osslble LxpllclLly osslble
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ldenLlfles crlLlcal work
!

!
ldenLlfles resource requlremenLs
!

!
ldenLlfles shorLesL posslble sequence of work
!

!

ldenLlfles resource conLenLlon
!

!
Synchronlzes plans Lo consLralnL resources
!

LxpllclLly sLaLes schedule rlsk
!

!
&789:;5<4
Schedule rlsk ls known
!

!
CurrenL sLaLus vs. longesL chaln of dependenL evenLs
!

ro[ecL Lask prlorlLles based on schedule rlsk
!

!
AblllLy Lo make Lradeoffs on expense vs. schedule
!

AblllLy Lo explolL scarce resources
!


ulscourages mulLlLasklng
!


Clearly ldenLlfles lmpacL of varlaLlon on schedule rlsk
!

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uLllnl1lCnS
,!0 ls a schedullng meLhod Lo ldenLlfy Lhe shorLesL Llme a pro[ecL could be accompllshed assumlng resources are
lnflnlLe
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. 1he crlLlcal paLh meLhod (CM) ls a pro[ecL modellng Lechnlque developed ln Lhe laLe 1930s by Morgan 8.
Walker of uuonL and !ames L. kelley, !r. of 8emlngLon 8and. ln pro[ecL managemenL, a crlLlcal paLh ls Lhe sequence of
pro[ecL neLwork acLlvlLles LhaL add up Lo Lhe longesL overall duraLlon.
,,!0 ls a meLhod of plannlng and managlng pro[ecLs LhaL puL Lhe maln emphasls on Lhe resources requlred Lo execuLe
pro[ecL Lasks. lL ls process, a collecLlon of meLhods lncludlng:
A ro[ecL Schedullng meLhod wlLh Lhe followlng characLerlsLlcs:
ldenLlflcaLlon of Lhe crlLlcal paLh conslderlng resource avallablllLy
8ackward plannlng (from due daLe)
Aggresslve Lask esLlmaLes
LxpllclL deflnlLlon of schedule rlsk uslng buffers
A ro[ecL LxecuLlon meLhod wlLh Lhe followlng characLerlsLlc:
reempLlve managemenL uslng buffer sLaLus Lo prlorlLlze work (schedule rlsk sLaLus)
WP? uC 8C!LC1S lAlL 1C uLLlvL8?
We cannoL properly evaluaLe Lhe performance of Lhe Lwo meLhods lf we don'L flrsL make a reasoned evaluaLlon as Lo
why we would boLher looklng aL a dlfferenL way of managlng pro[ecLs. ln shorL, convenLlonal pro[ecL managemenL does
noL work
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. More educaLlon ln pro[ecL managemenL prlnclples ls noL a predlcLor of good pro[ecL performance, nor ls Lhe
number of pro[ecL managers, or Lhe presence - or absence - of convenLlonal sofLware programs. 1hls ls Lrue ln all
lndusLrles, across company slzes, and around Lhe world. lew pro[ecLs reallze Lhelr ob[ecLlves ln cosL, performance, and
scope. LeL's begln by undersLandlng why pro[ecLs fall Lo dellver.
lAlLu8LS ln LAnnlnC
=<>? 5@ 4<; A><A8>2B 5C84;5D58C E;<< F:9G C8;352 <> 4<; 84<:6GHI 1hls ls a ma[or confllcL ln pro[ecL envlronmenLs. When
noL enough deLall ls planned:
key Lasks can geL mlssed
lnLegraLlon polnLs are noL properly llnked and work ls noL avallable Lo meeL up wlLh oLher compleLed Lasks
8esource loads are underesLlmaLed
As a resulL, pro[ecLs end up laLe or requlre herculean efforLs Lo flnlsh because Lhe work was slgnlflcanLly undersLaLed.


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AlLhough many sofLware packages allow Lhe crlLlcal paLh Lo be resource loaded, Lhe ouLpuL ls no longer Lhe crlLlcal paLh, lL ls
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1he SLandlsh 8eporL has clLed LhaL over 90 of l1 pro[ecLs are unsuccessful. Cne does noL have Lo look far Lo verlfy Lhelr flndlngs
ln oLher envlronmenLs as well.
C8l1lCAL CPAln Anu C8l1lCAL A1P, CAn 1PL? CCLxlS1?
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MosL pro[ecL managers err on Lhe slde of bulldlng complex neLworks wlLh a loL of deLall. WlLh Loo much deLall:
ro[ecL plans can become Lask llsLs
1he plans are unmanageable
8esource requlremenLs are oversLaLed
Managers use ad hoc sysLems Lo manage key Lasks Lhey know are lmporLanL
1hese also cause delays Lo pro[ecLs and wasLe managemenL Llme durlng execuLlon.
(G8 >8@<:>98@ ;< C< ;G8 J<>? 3>8 4<; @:DD59584;2B 5C84;5D58CI 1hls can cause slgnlflcanL delays. When resource
requlremenLs are undersLaLed, lL appears LhaL Lhere ls capaclLy Lo sLarL new pro[ecLs when LhaL ls noL Lhe case. As a
resulL Lhe sysLem becomes overloaded and pro[ecLs are delayed.
(G8 >823;5<4@G5A@ K8;J884 ;3@?@ 34C >8@<:>98@ 3>8 5FA><A8>2B C8D548C E;G8 K>83?;G><:6G <D ;G8 ,,!0 F8;G<CHI
Mlsslng key llnks beLween Lasks can cause delays ln sLarLlng key lnLegraLlon polnLs as Lhey are walLlng on work LhaL
should have been compleLed. 1hls requlres exLra efforL Lo geL LhaL work compleLe wlLhln Lhe requlred Llme and can
make pro[ecLs laLe.
,>5;5932 >8@<:>98@ 3>8 4<; 5C84;5D58CI 1hls can cause delays because Lhe resources mlghL be commlLLed elsewhere and
noL avallable when requlred.
%9G8C:28 >5@? 5@ 4<; 87A2595;2B @;3;8CI lf noL sLaLed, lL can be mlssed and cause serlous delays.
lAlLu8LS ln LxLCu1lCn
%9G8C:28 >5@? 5@ 4<; 8DD89;5L82B 5C84;5D58CI lf rlsk ls noL clearly ldenLlfled and lLs magnlLude undersLood, lL can be
mlsmanaged causlng delays.
!><M89; @;3;:@ 5@ :4?4<J4 <> :498>;354I 1he relaLlonshlp of currenL pro[ecL sLaLus Lo Llme lefL Lo execuLe ls an excellenL
lndlcaLor of Lhe healLh of a pro[ecL. noL knowlng Lhls relaLlonshlp may delay Laklng Lhe approprlaLe acLlons, causlng
Lhem Lo be Loo laLe Lo be effecLlve or some unnecessary acLlon may be Laken.
!><M89; A>5<>5;58@ A2398C 5FA><A8>2B N 4<; C<546 ;G8 >56G; ;G546@ 3; ;G8 >56G; ;5F8I 1hls can cause a mlsmanagemenL of
resources and managemenL aLLenLlon, whlch lead Lo slgnlflcanL delays.
!><M89; F34368>@ 3>8 :43K28 ;< 399:>3;82B 3@@8@@ 87A84@8@ L8>@:@ @9G8C:28 >5@?I Managers cannoL make a solld
evaluaLlon of Lhe Lrade offs Lo recover from a behlnd schedule condlLlon. 1hls leads Lo elLher belng Loo conservaLlve on
cosL managemenL, whlch delays small cosL declslons Lo avold larger ones laLer ln Lhe pro[ecL, or Loo aggresslve
managemenL, drlvlng resources Lo meeL Lhe percelved deadllnes. 8oLh of Lhese behavlors drlve cosLs up slgnlflcanLly.
,>5;5932 >8@<:>98@ 3>8 J3@;8C O 93A395;B 5@ 2<@;I 1hls can be Lhe mosL deLrlmenLal loss Lo an organlzaLlon. Cnce capaclLy
ls losL on a crlLlcal resource or capaclLy-consLralned resource, lL can never be regalned and LhaL LhroughpuL ls losL
forever.
C8l1lCAL CPAln Anu C8l1lCAL A1P, CAn 1PL? CCLxlS1?
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CPALLLnCLS Anu C8S1ACLLS ln LxLCu1lCn
Managlng large pro[ecLs ls challenglng work. Lxperlenced pro[ecL managers undersLand LhaL even Lhe besL-lald plans do
noL survlve Lhe polnL of execuLlon. unforeseen evenLs happen. 1asks geL sLuck or Lake much longer Lhan planned. Some
Lyplcal execuLlon challenges lnclude:
Scope/8equlremenLs change as Lhe pro[ecL progresses
1echnology changes or falls Lo dellver
vendors fall Lo dellver on Llme
Approvals do noL come on Llme
CrganlzaLlonal prlorlLles change
CuallLy problems cause re-work
8esources are noL avallable even lf promlsed
ueclslon maklng and plannlng lnvolve many layers of managemenL wlLh confllcLlng lnLeresLs
WlLhouL robusL execuLlon processes, Lhese forms of varlaLlon can be devasLaLlng Lo a pro[ecL even wlLh a perfecL pro[ecL
plan.
1PL lMC81AnCL Anu 8CLL Cl 8C!LC1 LAnnlnC
1he purpose of Lhe pro[ecL plan ls Lo develop and/or communlcaLe Lhe pro[ecL Leam's undersLandlng of Lhe pro[ecL.
ro[ecL plannlng ls noL a sLaLlc evenL, lL ls Lhe conLlnuous pracLlce of analysls, predlcLlon, and communlcaLlon. 1he mosL
lmporLanL Lhlng Lhe plannlng process should accompllsh ls ensure Lhe shorLesL posslble pro[ecL compleLlon Llmes. Pow ls
Lhls achleved? An effecLlve pro[ecL plannlng approach accompllshes Lhe followlng:
luLn1lllCA1lCn Cl C8l1lCAL WC8k
1he plannlng process musL ldenLlfy Lhe crlLlcal work Lo be compleLed. Lnsurlng LhaL Lhe crlLlcal work ls scheduled glves a
hlgh probablllLy Lhere wlll be no blg surprlses durlng execuLlon due Lo Lhe mlsslng work sLaLemenLs. 1hls also makes Lhe
resource allocaLlon more accuraLe. lf you mlss key large work sLaLemenLs and Lhe assoclaLed resource allocaLlons, you
wlll undersLaLe Lhe load of resources, posslbly leadlng Lo large delays.
luLn1lllCA1lCn Cl 8LSCu8CL 8LCul8LMLn1S
ro[ecL plans musL ldenLlfy resource requlremenLs. WlLhouL Lhls lnformaLlon lL ls lmposslble Lo know Lhe feaslblllLy of
Lhe pro[ecL duraLlon. lL ls lmposslble Lo know how many resources are requlred Lo compleLe Lhe pro[ecL and lf Lhose
resources are avallable. knowlng Lhls lnformaLlon allows Lhe company Lo properly sLaff Lhe pro[ecLs Lo glve Lhem a
beLLer chance of compleLlng on Llme.
luLn1lllCA1lCn Cl SPC81LS1 CSSl8LL 1lML 1C CCMLL1L 8C!LC1
ldenLlfylng Lhe shorLesL posslble sequence of work ls a key sLep ln ensurlng Lhe shorLesL posslble dellvery Llmes. 1he
shorLesL posslble sequence of work wlll address boLh Lask and resource dependencles.
luLn1lllCA1lCn Cl 8LSCu8CL CCn1Ln1lCn
ldenLlflcaLlon of resource conLenLlon ls lmperaLlve Lo maklng sure a pro[ecL can be execuLed as planned. lf Lhls ls noL
addressed durlng pro[ecL plannlng, Lhe lack of resources can cause slgnlflcanL delays durlng execuLlon.
C8l1lCAL CPAln Anu C8l1lCAL A1P, CAn 1PL? CCLxlS1?
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S?nCP8CnlZA1lCn Cl WC8k
Synchronlzlng plans Lo consLralnL resources properly sLaggers Lhe lnLroducLlon of pro[ecLs. 1hls ensures LhaL Lhe
consLralnL resources wlll be avallable Lo work on Lhe pro[ecLs when Lhey are needed. 1hls drlves shorLer acLual pro[ecL
compleLlons and makes pro[ecLed due daLes more credlble.
luLn1ll?lnC SCPLuuLL 8lSk
LxpllclLly sLaLlng schedule rlsk glves pro[ecL managers crlLlcal lnformaLlon, allowlng Lhem Lo focus on Lhe few areas LhaL
lmpacL Lhe pro[ecL dellvery daLe and reacL accordlngly. 1hls helps malnLaln pro[ecL due daLes.
Cood plannlng processes are robusL enough Lo mlnlmlze re-plannlng efforLs durlng execuLlon. 8e-plannlng depleLes
managemenL and resource Llme LhaL ls beLLer used Lo solve problems and recover schedule sllps.
Allowances for schedule and Lechnlcal rlsk should noL be dlsLrlbuLed across all Lasks, Lhey should be aggregaLed Lo
provlde Lhe mosL proLecLlon and used durlng execuLlon Lo focus managemenL aLLenLlon.
LLlMlnA1L MuL1l1ASklnC
lannlng should reduce mulLlLasklng, Lhe blggesL cause of delays durlng execuLlon. lL ls Lhe blggesL conLrollable cause of
pro[ecL delays, wasLlng Llme, creaLlng re-work, and lncreaslng pro[ecL cosLs. 1he prlmary way plannlng reduces
mulLlLasklng ls by properly conLrolllng Lhe release of pro[ecLs lnLo Lhe execuLlon sysLem. 1hrough proper conLrol, whlch
beglns ln plannlng, you slgnlflcanLly reduce Lhe amounL of work ln Lhe sysLem. 1hls has Lhe effecL of reduclng Lhe
workload on mosL resources, whlch ln Lurn, reduces mulLlLasklng.
8CvluL CLLA8 1ASk 8lC8l1lLS
uurlng execuLlon, Lhe plan should provlde managers and resources clear Lask prlorlLles wlLhln and across pro[ecLs. ln
order Lo make Lhe besL declslons, managers musL know whaL Lhe lmpacL would be on Lhe pro[ecL lf Lhey work one Lask
versus anoLher. lL should provlde clear lnformaLlon on where Lo dlrecL shared resources Lo ensure Lhe mosL rapld
compleLlon of Lhe pro[ecL.
MAxlMlZL SCA8CL 8LSCu8CLS
1he plannlng process should focus on leveraglng Lhe company's scarce resources, Lhelr consLralnLs. LxplolLlng Lhe
consLralnLs produces more LhroughpuL for Lhe enLlre sysLem.
8C!LC1 LxLCu1lCn ML1PCuCLCC?
ro[ecLs are never execuLed by Lhe pro[ecL plan, Lhere are many
greaL" plans, buL as we know, Lhere are very few greaL" resulLs.
1he plan ls noL Lhe resulL, lL ls only one lnpuL Lo successful
pro[ecL execuLlon. ro[ecL resulLs are Lhe producL of a process
LhaL lncludes plannlng, buL Lhe plan ls noL Lhe goal. ln shorL, only
whaL geLs accompllshed maLLers.
ro[ecL success ls Lhe resulL of aL leasL four ma[or elemenLs, one
"#$%&'$
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C8l1lCAL CPAln Anu C8l1lCAL A1P, CAn 1PL? CCLxlS1?
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of whlch ls Lhe plannlng process. ln Lhls paper, we do noL dlscuss Lhe oLher elemenLs.
1he plan's lmpacL on pro[ecL execuLlon ls cenLered on Lhese elemenLs:
Schedule rlsk ls known
CurrenL sLaLus vs. longesL chaln of dependenL evenLs
ro[ecL Lask prlorlLles based on schedule rlsk
AblllLy Lo make Lradeoffs on expense vs. schedule
AblllLy Lo explolL scarce resources
ulscourages mulLlLasklng
Clearly ldenLlfylng lmpacL of process (execuLlon) varlaLlon on schedule rlsk
SCPLuuLL 8lSk lS knCWn
CusLomers, managemenL, and execuLlon resources wlll wanL Lo undersLand schedule rlsk LhroughouL Lhe llfe of Lhe
pro[ecL, noL [usL durlng Lhe lnlLlal plannlng perlod. 1he key Lo rlsk mlLlgaLlon ls a good undersLandlng of Lhe schedule rlsk
lLself.
Cu88Ln1 S1A1uS vS. LCnCLS1 CPAln Cl uLLnuLn1 LvLn1S
CommunlcaLlon of currenL sLaLus wlll help downsLream resources effecLlvely plan for upcomlng work. undersLandlng of
Lhe longesL chaln of dependenL evenLs wlll help leaders focus on Lhe rlghL acLlvlLles.
8C!LC1 1ASk 8lC8l1lLS 8ASLu Cn SCPLuuLL 8lSk
ro[ecLs need a slngle prlorlLlzaLlon meLhod based on schedule rlsk as opposed Lo ad hoc or daLe-based prlorlLlzaLlon.
1ask level prlorlLlzaLlon wlll provlde focus for resources and help reduce Lask swlLchlng whlch arLlflclally elongaLes Lask
duraLlons.
A8lLl1? 1C MAkL 18AuLCllS Cn LxLnSL vS. SCPLuuLL
An accuraLe undersLandlng of pro[ecL healLh alds declslon makers ln maklng good cholces. 8esources and caplLal can be
deployed or re-deployed where lL makes Lhe mosL economlc sense.
A8lLl1? 1C LxLCl1 SCA8CL 8LSCu8CLS
undersLandlng and explolLlng scarce resources wlll provlde maxlmum veloclLy of pro[ecL compleLlons, especlally when
resources are used across mulLlple pro[ecLs.
ulSCCu8ACLS MuL1l1ASklnC
MulLlLasklng ls Lhe blggesL cause of delays LhaL can be conLrolled. 1here are Lwo maln effecLs of mulLl-Lasklng: delay and
loss of capaclLy (producLlvlLy). When a person swlLches back and forLh beLween Lasks, Lhe Lask swlLched from walLs,
delaylng lLs compleLlon. When Lhe person swlLches back Lo Lhe walLlng Lask, Lhere ls a sLarLup delay Lo reacqualnL Lhem
wlLh whaL Lhey were dolng before, ln oLher words, a Lask seLup Llme. lf Lhere has been new lnformaLlon on Lhe Lask
durlng Lhe delay, some rework and, Lhus, some addlLlonal delay can occur.
C8l1lCAL CPAln Anu C8l1lCAL A1P, CAn 1PL? CCLxlS1?
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CLLA8L? luLn1lllLS lMAC1 Cl vA8lA1lCn Cn SCPLuuLL 8lSk
When Lasks Lake longer Lhan planned, pro[ecL managers musL undersLand Lhe downsLream lmpacLs Lo deLermlne Lhls
effecL on Lhe overall pro[ecL schedule. An effecLlve execuLlon meLhodology wlll also allow Lhe pro[ecL Leam Lo Lake
advanLage of poslLlve varlaLlon.
CCMA8lSCn Cl CM 1C CM
1he besL posslble pro[ecL resulLs wlll come from a meLhodology LhaL lncorporaLes Lhe aLLrlbuLes llsLed above. 8efore
comparlng CM and CCM agalnsL Lhese aLLrlbuLes, leL's undersLand how Lhey dlffer from one anoLher. 1he mosL
lmporLanL dlfference beLween Lhe Lwo ls Lhe process for pro[ecL execuLlon. 1he execuLlon phase ls Lhe key Lo dellvery
and Lhe reason many organlzaLlons choose Lhe CCM meLhodology. AlLhough durlng Lhe plannlng process boLh of Lhese
meLhods ldenLlfy Lhe crlLlcal work LhaL musL be scheduled and ldenLlfy Lhe resources requlred, CCM Lakes exLra sLeps
Lo focus on Lhe work and Llme requlred for Lhe llmlLed, consLralnlng resources. CCM subordlnaLes Lhe plannlng process
Lo compensaLe for resource consLralnLs so Lhey may be effecLlvely explolLed durlng execuLlon. 1he goal of Lhe CCM
process ls Lo leverage Lhese consLralnLs and geL Lhe shorLesL execuLlon Llme posslble, raLher Lhan [usL focus on Lhe
shorLesL sequence of work
3
.
CRITICAL PATH LAnnlnC & LxLCu1lCn
MosL users of CM have large, complex Lasks neLworks. ueflnlng Lhe work preclsely ls lmporLanL, as we have dlscussed.
1he underlylng assumpLlon behlnd Lhe requlremenL Lo have a loL of deLall ln Lhe plan ls LhaL ,2) 0/-) ,&+3+ ,2&, &-)
+'2)45()46 ,2) 2$.2)- ,2) #-/7&7$($,8 ,2) #-/9)', '/0#(),)+ /% ,$0). 1hese pro[ecL plans produce a large number of
mllesLones Lo allow managers Lo Lrack progress and summary Lasks Lo vlew secLlons of pro[ecLs. CfLen, lL ls belleved LhaL
Lhese mllesLones provlde more vlslblllLy lnLo pro[ecL sLaLus. 1hls plannlng process may provlde deLalled lnformaLlon
abouL workloads on resources over Lhe llfe of Lhe pro[ecL.
uurlng plannlng, Lhe focus Lends Lo be on Lhe daLe Lhe Lasks musL be accompllshed raLher Lhan Lhelr sequence. 1hls
emphasls ofLen resulLs ln mlsslng many of Lhe crlLlcal llnkages beLween separaLe parLs of Lhe pro[ecL. 1he schedule Lhen
becomes lneffecLlve for managlng execuLlon and ls only used for communlcaLlng (lncorrecL) lnformaLlon.
1he CM plannlng process forward schedules Lasks Lo sLarL as soon as posslble. 1hls allows for floaL, proLecLlng Lhe
crlLlcal paLh. 1he Lasks ln Lhese pro[ecL schedules are planned wlLh hlghly probable duraLlons, wlLh safeLy Llme bullL lnLo
each. uurlng execuLlon, all Lasks musL sLarL and flnlsh on Llme, requlrlng a complex execuLlon lnfrasLrucLure.
uurlng execuLlon, as uncerLalnLles and varlaLlon sLrlke, Lhe pro[ecL may fall so far behlnd LhaL Lhe enLlre pro[ecL musL be
re-planned. 1hls usually requlres addlng more Lasks as addlLlonal deLall ls undersLood abouL Lhe acLlvlLles necessary Lo
compleLe Lhe pro[ecL, and a new crlLlcal paLh ls creaLed. 1he plannlng and re-plannlng process ls very Llme consumlng
due Lo Lhe large number of Lasks. CrganlzaLlons ofLen fall ln Lhls aspecL, as Lhe prospecL of revlslng Lhe pro[ecL ls
unappeallng Lo managers. AddlLlonally, Lhls Lask ls ofLen delegaLed Lo Lhe ro[ecL Manager or key 8esource Manager Lo
perform Lhls exLra work. 1hese managers look for shorLcuLs Lo manage Lhls process.

3
SomeLlmes, Lhls ls referred Lo as Lhe Lechnlcal llmlL".
C8l1lCAL CPAln Anu C8l1lCAL A1P, CAn 1PL? CCLxlS1?
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Plghly developed CM organlzaLlons spend a loL of Llme up fronL preparlng rlsk analysls and conLlngency plans. Whlle we
agree LhaL rlsk analysls and conLlngency plannlng ls an lmporLanL parL of execuLlng a pro[ecL successfully, such plannlng
can resulL ln over-confldence, whlch means acLlon ls noL Laken when requlred. AlLernaLlvely, lf aL Lhe flrsL slgn of a
schedule sllp numerous conLlngency plans are launched, lL can cause a loL mulLlLasklng, wlLh predlcLable delay ln pro[ecL
compleLlon. 1o avold Lhls over-confldence, managers musL reallze Lhe plannlng process ls only parL and Lhe beglnnlng of
Lhe execuLlon process.
C8l1lCAL CPAln 8C!LC1 LAnnlnC & LxLCu1lCn
CCM pro[ecL plans have Lhe followlng characLerlsLlcs and dlffer from CM ln Lhe followlng ways:
number of Lasks ln a CCM pro[ecL neLwork are fewer
Lmphasls on ldenLlfylng and quanLlfylng pro[ecL dellverable lnLegraLlon polnLs
LxpllclLly flnlLe loadlng based on known resource avallablllLy
LxpllclL deflnlLlon of normal schedule rlsk as a separaLe elemenL ln Lhe pro[ecL plan
1ask plannlng Lo sLarL as laLe as posslble
lannlng pro[ecL sLarLs based on consLralnL resource avallablllLy
lannlng wlLh CCM provldes pro[ecL plans LhaL generally have far fewer Lasks (Lhan LradlLlonal meLhods) Lo manage
durlng execuLlon. 1he emphasls ls Lo capLure key lnLegraLlon polnLs and acLlvlLles LhaL requlre known resource
consLralnLs. lL can lnclude key mllesLones or cusLomer handoffs where progress paymenLs are earned. 1he plan sLrlves Lo
be good enough Lo reasonably deLermlne Lhe pro[ecL compleLlon daLe, allow for sufflclenL resource plannlng across
pro[ecLs, and schedule aL a Lask level of deLall [usL enough Lo where small devlaLlons can noL affecL Lhe plan. lor
example, lf you llve 20 mlles from work, you esLlmaLe Lhe Lask Lo drlve Lhe 20 mlles - noL plan each mlle along Lhe way,
essenLlally summarlzlng all Lhe poslLlve and negaLlve varlaLlon LhaL can occur.
CCM plans level resource loads Lo avallable capaclLy for Lhe pro[ecL. 8esource level loadlng aL Lhe pro[ecL level and
across all pro[ecLs ln Lhe sysLem reduces Lhe probablllLy of mulLlLasklng, reduces Wl, and Lhus lncreases flow. CCM
provldes a plan LhaL ls boLh Lask and resource dependenL - Lhe crlLlcal chaln. Schedullng Lhls way reduces Lhe posslblllLy
of needlng Lo re-plan durlng execuLlon due Lo resource llmlLaLlons.
1he plan uses Lask duraLlons LhaL have a 30 probablllLy of belng achleved. 1he safeLy ls removed from each Lask,
aggregaLed, and placed Lo proLecL Lhe pro[ecL due daLe and Lhe crlLlcal chaln from varlaLlon. AggregaLlon Lheory allows
us Lo use less proLecLlon aL Lhe end of each chaln of evenLs, allowlng for a shorLer schedule. 1hese buffers are noL llke
floaL, raLher, Lhey are calculaLed and sLraLeglcally placed Lo proLecL Lhe pro[ecL and crlLlcal chaln. 1hey are used Lo
prlorlLlze work and managemenL aLLenLlon durlng execuLlon.
1hls prlorlLlzaLlon can also allow for less Llme up fronL performlng rlsk managemenL. When Lhe buffers are consumed
Loo fasL, Lhls ldenLlfles where rlsk musL be mlLlgaLed qulckly. 8ecause managemenL ls noL re-plannlng, and mulLlLasklng
ls reduced, managers have Lhe Llme Lo mlLlgaLe when necessary and only when rlsks evolve. 1here ls less of a need Lo
plan for all poLenLlal rlsks, of course, Lhere are always known rlsks LhaL musL be addressed aL pro[ecL sLarL.
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A CCM plan schedules Lask sLarL daLes as laLe as posslble, whlle allowlng for pracLlcal managemenL of schedule rlsk.
1hls delays any expendlLures whlle proLecLlng Lhe pro[ecL due daLe, and also reduces mulLlLasklng. uslng Lhese
Lechnlques, Lhls pro[ecL schedule

becomes a schedule wlLh buffers Lo proLecL Lhe longesL chaln of llnked acLlvlLles, Lo ensure Lhe pro[ecL due daLe ls meL.

:;<=>?<@ ?ABC@D= EFE=@:E
AnoLher elemenL of CCM pro[ecL managemenL plannlng ls Lhe process of plpellnlng pro[ecLs lnLo Lhe organlzaLlon.
lpellnlng ls Lhe process of schedullng Lhe sLarL of a pro[ecL based on Lhe sysLem's capablllLy Lo absorb Lhe work. 1he
sLarL of any pro[ecL ls generally based on Lhe avallablllLy of a consLralned resource or ma[or lnLegraLlon or assembly
polnL, conLrolllng Lhe raLe LhaL pro[ecLs are released lnLo Lhe sysLem. ro[ecLs do noL sLarL ASA, Lhey begln when Lhe
sysLem can supporL Lhe release of Lhe new work. 1hls keeps Wl Lo a mlnlmum and furLher reduces Lhe posslblllLles of
mulLlLasklng, whlch lncreases Lhe veloclLy of work Lhrough Lhe sysLem. 8educlng Wl reduces Lhe Llme a Lask walLs for a
resource Lo geL sLarLed, allowlng Lasks Lo compleLe fasLer. ro[ecL lead Llmes become shorLer, wlLh more work
accompllshed ln Lhe same amounL of Llme.

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D?: G DD?: @H@D;=>BI DBI=AJE=
1yplcally, pro[ecLs would be execuLed uslng Lhe crlLlcal paLh. lor example, below ls a small pro[ecL neLwork.

noLe Lhe crlLlcal paLh ls Lhrough Lhe x" leg of Lhe neLwork. 1herefore, Lhe execuLlon sequence would be Lhls:

Powever, Lhe crlLlcal chaln spans K<;G legs of Lhe neLwork, compensaLlng for Lhe llmlLed resource avallablllLy of x".

lollowlng Lhe crlLlcal chaln, Lhe pro[ecL execuLes ln 10 fewer days, or 20 sooner, wlLh Lhe same resources.
:JIJK>IK EDL@M;<@ A>EN O>=L DD?:
CCM assumes Lhere wlll be varlaLlon a pro[ecL musL endure durlng execuLlon. 8y plannlng correcLly, mosL varlaLlon can
be absorbed wlLhouL Lhe need Lo re-plan durlng execuLlon. 1he prlmary focus ls Lasks LhaL are peneLraLlng Lhe buffers Lo
Lhe exLenL LhaL Lhey requlre managemenL aLLenLlon, LhaL ls, Lhe ones causlng peneLraLlon lnLo Lhe red. lf Lhere ls
slgnlflcanL peneLraLlon lnLo a buffer, generally Lhere are few Lasks Lo revlew Lo deLermlne Lhe besL course of acLlon.
CCM ldenLlfles whlch Lasks are causlng or have caused lncreased schedule rlsk and provldes Lhe mechanlsm for
C8l1lCAL CPAln Anu C8l1lCAL A1P, CAn 1PL? CCLxlS1?
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managemenL Lo focus lLs rlsk mlLlgaLlon and pro[ecL recovery plans. lL ldenLlfles where redeploylng resources can have
Lhe needed lmpacL Lo lmprove Lhe schedule. 1hls lmproved declslon-maklng capablllLy drlves Lhe performance of Lhe
enLlre execuLlon sysLem
uurlng execuLlon, CCM focuses on Lhe overall progress of Lhe pro[ecL, lL ls noL concerned wlLh managlng sLarL and flnlsh
daLes of Lasks. WlLh Lhe probablllLles of Lask esLlmaLes belng closer Lo 30, lL ls undersLood mosL Lasks won'L be flnlshed
as scheduled. As Lasks are compleLed and buffers consumed, Lhe pro[ecL manager can Lrack Lhe progress of Lhe overall
pro[ecL based on revlewlng Lhe healLh of Lhe buffers. CCM concedes Lhere are some key Lasks LhaL may requlre Lhe
flnlsh daLes Lo be managed buL Lhese should be as few as posslble.

1he CCM execuLlon process makes lL clear when managemenL's aLLenLlon ls requlred: when Lhe raLlo of work remalnlng
and buffer remalnlng reach an acLlon Lhreshold, Lhe red zone. 1he graphlc above lllusLraLes a pro[ecL's llfe, and Lhe Llmes
when ad[usLmenLs were necessary.
MLASu8lnC u
8y undersLandlng some of Lhe dlfferences beLween CM and CCM lL ls now posslble Lo make a measured comparlson.
Pow does CM and CCM measure up agalnsL Lhe deslrable aLLrlbuLes of a good pro[ecL plannlng and effecLlve
execuLlon process?
8oLh meLhods requlre sofLware Lo ldenLlfy currenL pro[ecL sLaLus. 1he crlLlcal chaln funcLlonallLy ls noL found ln many of
Lhe popular pro[ecL managemenL packages. 1hls scarclLy" causes some managers Lo Lry Lo use CCM wlLhouL lL.
AlLhough lL ls posslble Lo manually calculaLe Lhe crlLlcal chaln, lL ls noL pracLlcal. lor plannlng, Lhe sofLware ldenLlfles Lhe
shorLesL paLh Lo level load Lhe resources, ldenLlfy Lask dependencles, and calculaLe Lhe crlLlcal chaln. lL Lhen calculaLes
Lhe slze of Lhe buffers and places Lhem aL lnLegraLlon polnLs and Lhe end of Lhe pro[ecL.
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1he Lable below summarlzes Lhe dlfferences beLween Lhe Lwo meLhodologles:










uSlnC uA1LS Anu CCn18AC1uAL MlLLS1CnLS
ln many envlronmenLs, Lhere are Lasks assoclaLed wlLh daLes LhaL musL be managed: conLracL compllance daLes, suppller
dellvery daLes, paymenL daLes, and so on. 1he crlLlcal paLh algorlLhm does noL address Lhese requlremenLs. 1he chaln
algorlLhm ln several CCM sofLware packages does conslder pro[ecL mllesLones. ln plannlng Lhe crlLlcal chaln, Lhey
become requlred Lasks. We advlse LhaL Lhese are as few as posslble because Lhey can lncrease Lhe lengLh of Lhe chaln
and subsequenLly, Lhe duraLlon of Lhe pro[ecL. Powever, lf Lhe pro[ecL process requlres speclflc mllesLone daLes, Lhey
may be Lracked and managed.
AddlLlonally, speclflc daLes and progress reporLlng are ofLen used Lo reporL pro[ecL sLaLus Lo managemenL and
cusLomers. 1here are leglLlmaLe reasons for reporLlng daLes, buL Lhls ls noL one of Lhem. 1he quesLlon LhaL cusLomers
and managemenL really wanL Lo answer ls, wlll my pro[ecL be on Llme?" 1hls ls essenLlally a rlsk managemenL quesLlon
LhaL CM cannoL answer
4
, buL Lhe crlLlcal chaln meLhodology answers ln an unexpecLed way. CCM Lells managemenL
boLh Lhe sLaLus of Lhe pro[ecL (as deLermlned by Lhe of crlLlcal chaln compleLe) and Lhe rlsk of compleLlng on Llme (as
a of pro[ecL buffer consumed). 1hls ls someLlmes confuslng for Lhose who recelve Lhls lnformaLlon, Lhey do noL know
how Lo lnLerpreL lL.
CCM plans Lyplcally use floaLlng mllesLones (and assoclaLed daLes) Lo updaLe Lhe managemenL lnformaLlon sysLems
when [usL Lhe daLes need Lo be Lracked. 1he meLhodology can accommodaLe conLracLual mllesLones (flxed daLes), whlch
are managed uslng Lhe buffer lncurslon meLhodology and charL slmllar Lo Lhe one shown above.

4
Many pro[ecL managers use floaL Lo assess pro[ecL dellvery rlsk uslng a CM pro[ecL plan.
CCM CM
&7A2595;2B !<@@5K28 &7A2595;2B !<@@5K28
!2344546
ldenLlfles crlLlcal work
!

!
ldenLlfles resource requlremenLs
!

!
ldenLlfles shorLesL posslble sequence of work
!

!

ldenLlfles resource conLenLlon
!

!
Synchronlzes plans Lo consLralnL resources
!

LxpllclLly sLaLes schedule rlsk
!

!
&789:;5<4
Schedule rlsk ls known
!

!
CurrenL sLaLus vs. longesL chaln of dependenL evenLs
!

ro[ecL Lask prlorlLles based on schedule rlsk
!

!
AblllLy Lo make Lradeoffs on expense vs. schedule
!

AblllLy Lo explolL scarce resources
!


ulscourages mulLlLasklng
!


Clearly ldenLlfles lmpacL of varlaLlon on schedule rlsk
!

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asslng Lhe expecLed compleLlon daLes and flnal compleLlon daLes Lo an enLerprlse pro[ecL managemenL sysLem can
drlve Lhe bllllng and supply chaln managemenL sysLems.
CCM8lnlnC 1PL 1WC A8CACPLS
1he crlLlcal paLh ls a useful meLhod Lo answer Lhe quesLlon, Pow qulckly can Lhe pro[ecL be compleLed lf l have no
resource consLralnLs (Lhe Lechnlcal llmlL)?" 1he answer Lo Lhls quesLlon essenLlally produces a Lechnlcal evaluaLlon of
Lhe pro[ecL's feaslblllLy. lL LesLs Lhe relaLlonshlps of Lhe work. 1he answer Lo Lhls quesLlon provldes an lnpuL lnLo rlsk
plannlng or feaslblllLy assessmenL. 8oLh approaches requlre Lhls sLep of undersLandlng Lhe work and ldenLlfylng Lhe
besL posslble" sequence of work Lo ensure Lhe shorLesL pro[ecL compleLlon Llme.
Managers should noL fool Lhemselves lnLo Lhlnklng Lhls besL posslble" plan ls someLhlng LhaL ls usable for execuLlon or
LhaL Lhe compleLlon daLes produced wlll be achleved. no one has an lnflnlLe supply of resources. 1here ls lmperfecL
knowledge of fuLure evenLs. 1herefore, &%8 plan wlll be a forecasL of a posslble ouLcome. 1he key Lo achlevlng pro[ecL
success ls acknowledglng LhaL Lhe plan ls a forecasL (wlLh lmperfecLlons) and Lhls forecasL musL be managed Lo achleve
Lhe resulLs LhaL are needed. 1hls ls where Lhe crlLlcal chaln meLhod excels ln produclng useful resulLs.
ln shorL, Lhe crlLlcal paLh ls a useful Lool Lo answer a speclflc quesLlon, knowlng Lhe answer Lo Lhls quesLlon ls a parL of
successful pro[ecL compleLlons, buL lL ls lncompleLe. CrlLlcal Chaln ro[ecL ManagemenL compleLes Lhe equaLlon.
CCnCLuSlCnS
1hls paper lllusLraLes Lhe dlfferences beLween CM and CCM pro[ecL plannlng and execuLlon meLhodologles. 1he mosL
lmporLanL dlfference beLween Lhe Lwo ls Lhe execuLlon process provlded by CCM. ln Lhls regard, Lhe CM meLhod ls
lncompleLe. Managers have been worklng wlLh Lhls lnadequacy for qulLe some Llme, wlLh Lhe poor resulLs Lo show for lL.
ln addlLlon, Lhe CCM and CM plannlng meLhodologles dlffer ln Lhelr approach Lo managlng (normal) schedule rlsk and
plannlng resources. 1hus, mosL of Lhe beneflLs of Lhe CCM execuLlon process cannoL be galned wlLhouL lncorporaLlng
Lhe plannlng processes as well. CCM plannlng and execuLlon lmplemenLaLlons have a sLrong record of lncreaslng Lhe
performance of pro[ecL organlzaLlons.

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AuvAn1ACLS Cl LACP
CCM offers Lhe followlng advanLages:
ldenLlfles Lhe crlLlcal work sequence, especlally
Lhe work of consLralnL resources
8educes Wl ln Lhe sysLem, whlch speeds up
work compleLlon
uurlng execuLlon, ldenLlfles Lhe rlsk assoclaLed
wlLh each Lask and lLs lmpacL on Lhe pro[ecL
compleLlon
Clearly ldenLlfles when managemenL musL Lake
acLlon and whaL acLlons Lo Lake
LxplolLs scarce resources
1here ls far less re-plannlng durlng execuLlon,
allowlng managemenL Lo focus on managlng
varlaLlon
ro[ecLs are compleLed 23-30 fasLer Lhan
convenLlonal pro[ecL managemenL approaches
CM offers Lhe followlng advanLages:
ldenLlfles Lhe crlLlcal work sequence
rovldes resource requlremenLs
urlves Lhe Larned value SysLem (LvS)
ls Lhe generally-accepLed soluLlon

ulSAuvAn1ACLS Cl LACP
CCM has Lhese dlsadvanLages:
8esource loads are undersLaLed, maklng raw
numbers dlfflculL Lo lnLerpreL
leedlng LvS can requlre exLra sLeps
ls relaLlvely new, Lhere ls a learnlng curve Lo
masLer Lhe process
8equlres unlque sofLware
CM has Lhese dlsadvanLages
LxecuLlon can become a consLanL exerclse ln re-
plannlng, whlch dlsLracLs resources from Lhe
real work
uoes noL easlly deflne Lhe lmpacL of schedule
delays
uoes noL clearly polnL managemenL Lo Lhe Lasks
LhaL need Lhelr aLLenLlon
Can drlve Wl wlLh early sLarL schedules
uurlng execuLlon, Lhe crlLlcal paLh changes,
maklng lL dlfflculL Lo manage prlorlLles
uoes noL explolL consLralnL resources
llnAL 1PCuCP1S
Whlle lL ls clear LhaL CCM presenLs a superlor soluLlon, exLernal facLors may make lL lmposslble Lo fully dlsengage from
CM. ln Lhese cases, lL ls posslble for CM and CCM Lo coexlsL. lL ls lmporLanL Lo undersLand LhaL CM has no execuLlon
meLhodology, Lherefore, CM should subordlnaLe Lo CCM durlng execuLlon ln order Lo achleve Lhe hlghesL probablllLy
of on-Llme, on-scope, and on-budgeL pro[ecL dellvery. 1o provlde opLlmal resulLs and avold confllcLs durlng execuLlon,
Lhls coexlsLence musL be Lhoroughly undersLood and properly deslgned lnLo Lhe overall pro[ecL managemenL process.