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Name: Lei Chen Class: Introduction of project management Instructor: Matt Aldrich Date: 04/20/2010

Book Report of Critical Chain
Critical Chain is the second book I read which is written by Dr. Goldratt. As the subtitle said, it is a ³business novel´-- a brand-new literary form for me. By inheriting the writing technique of The Goal, this book implant the author¶s ideas about project management into an appealing story. The main story happens in a business school which is facing a crisis. As an associate professor in that business school, the hero Rick Silver is struggling to become tenure to make his life better. And then, he is assigned to teach a course in an Executive MBA course. This is a challenge but also a good opportunity for him. During the MBA course, Rick introduces his findings to his students and develops the concept of the ³Critical Chain´ with his students. The teaching style of professor Silver welcomed by his students, at the same time, Rick is also inspired by three of his students who are involved in a project at their company to develop a way to cut product development time. The economy crisis of business school almost makes the promotion of Rick impossible, but the new discoveries he makes in the MBA course and the support it gets from the industry let his promotion come true. Critical Chain applies the Theory of Constrains principles presented in The Goal into the discussion in Rick¶s MBA course, into the real life case brought by Rick¶s students and also into the management of the business school. This book walks the reader through a series of steps to build up the principles for the discussion; such a process makes the theory very clear to the

and then provides a primer on the Theory of Constraints by using an example of its implementation in a steel mill. they are 1) Identify the bottleneck or the constraints of the system. 4) Elevate the constraint. It starts by pointing out the problems with how time estimates are usually done on projects. 3) Compromising the context. providing buffer as needed to keep the constraint running at maximum capacity. at least know what the PERT network and critical path are. the most common problems in today¶s projects are 1).readers. Second of all. improve processes along it. 3) Subordinate all other processes to it. However. I think the book does require its readers have some background knowledge of project management. Budget overruns. With the foundation set. 2) Time overruns. Here are some important lessons I have learned from this book: First of all. Goldratt claims that the present method of estimating task time is the primary reason for increased expenditure of projects and their overruns of time. The third thing I learned from this book is adding safety to each and every step in the project can reduce the uncertainty in projects. That is the time to start the process over on the line to determine the new bottleneck. Dr. resources constraints and multiple projects. the five principle steps of the Theory of Constraints enumerated by the book. it continues to show how the Theory of Constraints can be used to schedule resources. 2) Exploit it by scheduling the sequence of work to make sure the constraint (or bottleneck process) is running full time. by increase its capacity. a new constraint will appear. He asserts that estimates for a task are based . Add resources in ways that shorten the critical chain. The principle to add safety to every step to generate a task time length that will essentially guarantee the step completed on time. 5) Repeat: since if you're successful.

they can¶t submit it on time. In the real life.on individuals providing values that they feel comfortable only are given an 80-90% chance of completing this step. or even worse. Dr. PERT network I have learned from textbook works in the real life. sequencing the activities efficiently). And I feel that the philosophy of project management can almost . it is the reason many projects will run full term or late. 2) Get ready for its own work anytime. The next thing is about the influences of the resources. To ensure this. In the other words. this excessive padding prevents the task completing on time and under budget. Obviously. the resource needs to be focused on completing the task by the due date once the scheme has been developed. they start the task late using up all the safety. This concept claims that one must ensure thing is the resource bottleneck on the critical path should be always producing at the most extent and stays focused. Goldratt¶s analysis of the scheduling estimates inspired me to find out the reason why students are always not able to finish their assignments until the deadline. as a result. This book also interprets how the Gantt chart. These task time estimates are further padded by the top manager of this person. The other important thing leads to the success of projects is put multiple projects into a correct order. they cannot be used to other process. The concept of a resource buffer is introduced by using massive analogies and instances. Organizations always need to accommodate parallel projects since all of those Projects are going to use common resources. even if it means they are idle waiting for dependencies to much as 200% of the actual time needed. This requires developing a prioritization scheme for the resource to determine the correct order to do work (Or we can say. To get the efficiency. I think that is because they have more than enough time to do the task. by creating a length of time to complete a task that is excessive . bottle necks need to be: 1) kept on task.

We can see it is used in solving the economical problems in the business school and also in cutting the product promoting time in Rick¶s students¶ company. Project managers will evaluate projects better with this indicator. how to balance my study and the internship. I will be able to answer all these questions by applying the knowledge of project management. even people¶s day-to-day life. When should I start my internship. I¶ve never considered about both the late start and early start will make the project mangers lose their focus before read this book. On the other hand. applied in any industry. it is the product of the investment in the project and its duration. conflict comes . I do consider about the differences between the late start and the early start. a very interesting thing I¶ve learned from this book is the presentation method of Johnny. and think about the influences on projects by each of them. Lastly. the way he catches the audiences¶ attention. In my opinion. The book closes by introducing a concept for a method for determining which projects should be selected for execution. how can I practice the skills required by my dream job. what I found is that the philosophy of project management is also helpful to my career planning. The concept of ³Money-days´ really makes s lot sense. There are a lot of skills can used to my presentation. considering that I will be graduated from the IMC program in one year and start my career. how he engages the audiences by asking them to be the volunteers. It is based on looking at the investment in each project in terms of money-days. and then I was persuaded by him. However. Additionally. Dr. then there is an assumption as part of those concepts (or the foundation of these concepts) that is incorrect. Goldratt¶s statement surprises me and also let me think it more deeply. a statement in this book that I cannot agree with is that the book points out that if two concepts are in direct conflict.

Barnes.from differences.. 2003. 24-32. Eliyahu M. 34(4). Dvir. R. D. Goldratt. Raz. T. it¶s Just like old wine in a new bottle. Critical Chain ± A Business Novel. The north river press 2. 1997. having conflict is not enough to show that one of the two concepts is based on the wrong assumption. . A Critical Look at the Critical Chain Project Management. Many characters and stories run in parallel making the novel not easily to read. References: 1. Although it offers many valuable things. The author doesn¶t provide a persuasive reasoning process of this statement. And many findings from Rick has already introduced in The Goal. I think the Critical Chain is not as good as The Goal. Project Management Journal.