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Bringing Discipline To Project Management
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Bringing Discipline To Project Management


This presentation tries to capture the essence of the book review of "Critical Chain by Eli Goldratt" published in Harvard Business Review. …

This presentation tries to capture the essence of the book review of "Critical Chain by Eli Goldratt" published in Harvard Business Review.

Review by : Jeffrey Elton & Justin Roe

Published in Business , Technology
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    By Jeffrey Elton & Justin Roe
    Presented By:
    Group 5 – Batch 2008-10
    Sharadkumar R Bhatt
    Siddharth Anand
    Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Bangalore
  • 2. Eli Goldratt
    The Goal –
    Introduced the Theory of Constraints
    Critical Chain –
    Applying the TOC framework to managing the development of new products & other products (Falls short in explaining the management of a portfolio of projects)
  • 3. Focusing on the Constraints
    Explains how to boost the performance of any process that involves a series of interdependent steps
    Focus on bottlenecks or constraints rather than on breaking the process down and improving the efficiency of each step
    Bottlenecks widened by changing policies that may promote efficiency
    Sometimes this hampers effectiveness at the crucial bottlenecks
  • 4. Focusing on the Constraints
    Next, volume of production from the non-bottleneck activities to be limited to a level that can be handled
    Managers can increase output by investing in extra capacity at the bottlenecks
    These steps to be repeated over time because of constraints that can emerge
    Critical path
    Scarce resources needed on & off the critical paths + other projects
  • 5. Focusing on the Constraints
    Critical Chain = A combination of critical path & scarce resources
    For smooth flow of critical chain –
    Use safety buffers
    Allow extra time to tasks that impinge directly on the critical path
    Allow extra time to tasks not on the critical path that feed into the scarce resource
    Tightly schedule the activities of the scarce resource
  • 6. Focusing on the Constraints
    Project Managers
    Create a project plan involving a WBS
    Plan is arranged so that items on critical path can be completed in time
    In conjunction with the budget – to validate some core assumptions
    Know that the plan is only advisory and suggestive of the true structure
  • 7. Focusing on the Constraints
    Plans are almost always “wrong” in the sense that the resources used and the time actually taken to complete tasks rarely correspond to the original project plan
  • 8. Focusing on the Constraints
    Successful Organizations
    Putting emphasis on coordination and communication (advances in project management software)
    Continual communication & coordination becoming mandatory
  • 9. Focusing on the Constraints
    Elaborate plans should not distract managers from focusing on constraints
    Most projects have one/two essential constraints – addressing them most important
    Proper use of measurements
    Induce the parts to do what is good for the whole
    Direct managers to parts that need their attention
    Reduce number of milestones as they motivate managers to insert safety time before each milestone
  • 10. Focusing on the Constraints
    “The fewer the milestones, the fewer the delays”
    Message for project managers
    Remain focused on a few critical areas
    Project phases do not matter
    Design a project in the same way as a product
    Project design needs to identify the potential sources of failure: critical-path tasks and critical resources
    Then insert resource & work buffers
  • 11. Focusing on the Constraints
    Message for senior managers
    Juggle a portfolio of products
    Allocate resources carefully across projects to minimize constraints on shared resources
  • 12. Managing Projects as a Portfolio
    Managers cannot isolate and control different projects easily
    They need a wider perspective of aggregate project planning
    Projects fall short of resources or lose direction due to lack of agreement between senior and junior managers leading to slowing down of project and also failure to kill them
    Thus organizations have too many projects compared to available capacity
  • 13. Managing Projects as a Portfolio
    Projects may still fall short because: Company may not have adequate skills for all parts of product development process
    Hence outsourcing which limits the individual project’s progress
    Reducing the number of overall projects relieves constraints on common resources
  • 14. Putting Flexibility where It Counts
    When the degree of change involved is great, managers need to approach projects differently
    Projects incorporating discontinuous technologies require managers to apply stringent & individualized criteria for determining how to proceed
  • 15. Putting Flexibility where It Counts
    Goldratt’s flexible approach ( without many milestones) may be more easily applied to products that can be frequently modified than to capital intensive or mission-critical products, such as aircraft engines
  • 16. Conclusion
    Process Management: Eliminates variability
    Project Management: Accepts variability as each project is unique
    Critical chain theory cannot be fully implemented for projects due to high level of uncertainty
    Essential are Project Managers who can handle the political, as well as the technical aspects of their projects
  • 17. In truth, Leadership may be the larger constraint.
    Thank You