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Would you like to discuss Critical Chain Scheduling, Buffer Management, and Multi-Project Management with other like-minded individuals?

You are invited to participate in the CriticalChain discussion group, a free, easy-to-use email discussion service with integrated web support. Please take a moment to review this invitation.

The CriticalChain discussion group is aimed at providing an online venue to discuss the application of Critical Chain Scheduling and Buffer Management, an approach to project management that has significant implications for most PM processes.

While there are worthwhile and active online communities for general discussion of the Theory of Constraints (for example, APICS' CMSIG email list is the premiere source of TOC discussion) and Project Management (www.newgrange.com and www.gantthead.com are two of my favorites), it is my feeling that a focused discussion venue for Critical Chain can provide benefit to those interested in the topic.

The target audience for this discussion list is broad, consisting of:

Those who are experienced with Critical Chain (either by living with it or by helping others implement it),

Those who are attempting to implement Critical Chain in their project(s),

Those who are curious about Critical Chain and the implications it could have for their project environment

and . . .

Those who have heard about Critical Chain and think that it is either misguided or that there is nothing really new about it, but are willing to discuss it with an open mind. It's this last target group that can add real spice to the discussion. (After all, as Eli Goldratt has said, "The strongest force FOR improvement is resistance to change.")

Anticipated topics for discussion include how Critical Chain-based project management relates to the various processes associated with traditional project management, including planning and scheduling, task estimating, progress tracking and assessment, risk management, resource management, and multi-project program management. There might also be discussion on the merits of software solutions for Critical Chain. (While the focus of this discussion list is to be on Critical Chain-based methodologies, a side topic that may also appear is the application of TOC Thinking Processes to project management, such as the possible use of Negative Branch Reservations for risk identification and response and Prerequisite Trees for network building.)

At the time of the launch of this list (Winter, 2000-01), I've jumpstarted the discussion with a few initial postings, on some of these topics. These postings will be archived in the FILES section on the eGroups website and will be automatically sent to new subscribers. Check out the site at:

<http://www.eGroups.com/group/CriticalChain>

While you are there, you'll notice the potential services available to the group, including areas for posting links of interes (at <http://www.eGroups.com/links/CriticalChain/>), archiving files for download (at <http://www.eGroups.com/files/CriticalChain/>), real-time chats, and surveys/polls.

There are both links and files per-loaded at these sites. It is my expectation to make use of the other services as time goes on. Link posting and file uploading is open to members (and we would prefer that files be uploaded to the site rather than attached to postings so that members can access them over time).

To subscribe to CriticalChain, send an email to:

CriticalChain-subscribe@egroups.com

. . . or subscribe directly on the eGroups page.

We are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when we discuss it freely. - Thomas Babington

Discuss Critical Chain - An email-based discussion group

Frequently Asked Questions about Critical Chain-based project Management

Top 10 Sources of Project Failure -- A list you probably won't see on Letterman.

Related links:

Check Out the Following Links for More About the TOC Approach to Project Management:

Critical Chain and Risk Management - Protecting Project Value from Uncertainty -- Project management is the practice of turning uncertain events into certain promises. If so, then project management is an extended excersie in risk management. The core concepts underlying Critical Chain-based project management directly support risk management and are described in this paper, expanded from one presented at PMI's 2001 National Symposium.

Getting Out From Between Parkinson's Rock and Murphy's Hard Place -- This first link will bring up a paper based on a poster presentation originally given at the 1998 New Jersey PMI Chapter's annual symposium, honored with a "best of the show" award by attendees, and later turned into an article published in PMI's PM Network magazine.

Program Management -- Turning Many Projects into Few Priorities with TOC -- This link will lead to a paper on the key attributes of a TOC Multi-Project Management environment. (Most projects are performed by resources shared with other projects. It can be deadly to ignore the resulting interactions, no matter how well you manage single projects.) This paper was originally presented at PMI's Global Symposium in Philadelphia in October of 1999 and is included in the proceedings of that conference. Audio tapes of the presentation are also available from PMI.

Consumption of Effort and Conservation of Energy for Project Success -- This link will lead to an essay on the necessity for managing protective capacity in multi-project environments to get the most organizational throughput from the efforts of project resources.


The following additional links lead to archives of contributions to email discussion lists regarding project management. Their tone and style is informal and occasionally provocative and impertinent. There may even be typos in them until an opportunity arises to clean them up for more formal presentation. Despite these minor shortcomings of style, the content is worth sharing.

Critical Chain Basics

A Critical Chain Schedule

The Sooner You Start, The Later You Finish

Multitasking Multiplies Lead Time

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