How to implement critical chain project management across the enterprise

Charan/ March 27, 2012/ Agile

I have frequently been asked – how would you actually implement Critical Chain project management? But before I get to that, why would you want to implement critical chain? If you work in an organization that follows traditional project management practices, it is likely that critical chain project management may appeal to your PMO. You can most likely follow the

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Portfolio management using Kanban and Critical Chain

Charan/ January 1, 2012/ Agile

Happy New Year to all my readers My first post of 2012. 2011 has been a very interesting year. Back in October Mike Burrows ( and I briefly communicated on how Kanban could scale to manage project portfolio. I particularly liked his post “Kanban in its portfolio context“. Now, if you have been following my blog or have been at

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Agile project management using Kanban and Theory of Constraints

Charan/ November 26, 2011/ Agile

I recently presented “Agile Project Management using Kanban & Theory of Constraints” at the PMI-NB lunch-and-learn and at Project World Business Analyst World Atlantic Canada. Since I got a lot of requests for the presentation, I figured this would be an easier way to distribute it to everyone. Feel free to write to me with comments, questions or clarifications. You

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Combining Critical Chain and Kanban to improve capacity

Charan/ November 6, 2011/ Agile

“I like it. Your idea of using the Kanban board to review deliverables and issues is awesome. And I really like your buffer chart. Now I can see if the project is in trouble before that happens.” These were the words from a customer. Music to my ears. It has been close to two years since I embarked on the

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Forget project post-mortems, predict project failure

Charan/ October 13, 2011/ Agile

The buffer penetration line crept up with renewed intensity. Worse, this was the second week it remained in the Red zone. My earlier conversations with the powers that be did not appear to help. Developers were being pulled into higher priority tasks. But now I had data. A week of people unable to work to the plan meant the project

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Speed up project delivery using Critical Chain

Charan/ September 28, 2011/ Agile

We talked about the following issues (On estimating project tasks) that prevent projects from completing on time: Milestone Management: Working to meet task deadlines or milestones Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill (and even exceed) the allocated time Student Syndrome: Negotiate safety into tasks (by extending the deadline) and use the safety upfront. Scramble towards the end to get the

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On estimating project tasks

Charan/ September 18, 2011/ Agile

Estimation is one of the most important components of project management. In my opinion it is second only to the creation of a work breakdown structure (WBS). Project schedule and costs are directly impacted by accuracy of the estimation. Whenever I bring up the subject of estimation as a topic of discussion, invariably someone will mention: “We typically end up underestimating the amount of time needed to complete tasks – especially unfamiliar tasks.” The one common theme that resonated was that everyone was reasonably confident that the tasks would be finished on time. After all, they did add safety to tasks to account for variation. So if we had safety protecting the tasks, why then do we not finish projects on time? Before we look at answering this question, let’s briefly look at the principle behind Theory of Constraints.