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Critical Chain Paperback – 1997
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"Anyone who doesn't snap up a copy is missing a wonderful opportunity for professional and personal development." -- Assembly
"Critical Chain will revolutionize project management." -- World Aero-Engine Review
"Critical Chain's powerful yet simple techniques...solve project management's toughest problems." -- James R. Holt, Professor of Engineering Management, Washington State University
"Eli Goldratt's first novel, The Goal, shook up the factory floor...Goldratt essentially adds a discipline for understanding what drives project performance and therefore what the focus of a project manager's attention should be." -- Harvard Business Review
"This book (Critical Chain) is valuable to two main audiences: project managers and senior managers... useful for dealing with one of the most difficult and pressing management challenges: developing highly innovative new products." -- Harvard Business Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
One of the world's most sought after business leaders - author and educator, Dr. Eli Goldratt. Eli Goldratt has been described by Fortune Magazine as a "guru to industry" and by Business Week as a "genius". His charismatic, stimulating, yet sometimes unconventional style has captured the attention of audiences throughout the world. Eli is a true thinker who provokes others to think.
Eli Goldratt is the creator of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) and is the author of 8 books, including the business best sellers The Goal, It's Not Luck, and Critical Chain. Goldratt's Theory of Constraints is used by thousands of companies, and is taught in hundreds of colleges, universities, and business schools. His books have sold over 3 million copies and have been translated into 23 languages. Goldratt's fascinating work as an author, educator and business pioneer has resulted in the promulgation of TOC into many facets of society and has transformed management thinking throughout the world. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The mentor in the story is Rick Silver, who is a lecturer at a university on the eMBA program. One difference in structure of this business novel compared to many others is that the mentor is still figuring things out himself and he doesn't have all the answers. He wants to understand it all and discover something so that he can get tenure at the university. He gives a class on project management, and decides to focus on the real problems that people have. He discovers that projects have tasks that are sequenced and that each task is estimated with a buffer. The buffer is filled up (due to the scheduling) when it is estimated and thus adding a small buffer to every task will cause the total buffer to be small. Thus critical chain focuses on removing these small task buffers and put them at the end instead, to avoid the problem of many small buffers being eaten. Rick Silver helps his class in the eMBA through this thinking process and they try it out in their projects. Of course, it works and then... well I'll need to leave something for the reader still :)
Eli Goldratt is a good author, so the story is nice and easy to follow. It keeps the reader engaged and it is an excellent way to explain the concepts of ToC and critical chain planning. For story, I'd give it a 4 or 5 stars. However, I was uncomfortable with the content and some of the ideas. It doesn't really discuss breaking constraints a lot, especially not breaking skill constraints through learning and teaming. But instead, it accepts all the supposed constraints and calculates buffers around them. Also, it doesn't really talk a lot about changes or about the fact that the tasks planned might not be the reality. All of that, made critical chain planning an interesting idea, but didn't trigger any wow moments and left me with more questions. These project assumptions and missing topics caused me to dislike the book at times, and thus I'll leave it with 3 stars. Not really recommended unless you are in very traditional projects with true constraints or you are a Goldratt fan.
I definetely prefer Epiphanized by BobSproull and Bruce Nelson. Epiphanized has not focused on Critical Chain only but the novel structure is definetly better than this book. Moreover Epiphanized has a detailed appendix section for interested readers.
Anyway there are good points still in this book:
It starts with the rebel idea: "only a young and fresh mind can see something different than us!"
Main problems of projects are summarized as overrun of either budget or delivery date or compromising the content.
Main reasons have been identifed as well: multi tasking, student syndrome, parkinson syndrome (implicitly described, not named, I bring the name from Epiphanized), inflated operation time estimates, poor methods of project progress monitoring, no resource dependancy or consention issue in usual CPM, PERT methods...
Usual 5 Focusing steps implemented and exampled.
At the end there is a rebel question: How do we rely on payback (time) or net present value (money) to assess a project ?
There is an anolgy of mass and velocity and derived concept of momentum (=mass X velocity) to assess the severity of a collision.
Easy read since it is written like a Novel
Critical Chain is an interesting project management style
Well though out and well executed with good examples.
Critical Chain is shown as the ultimate savior to projects, even though there are issues that this method contains
Sometimes we spend a lot of time reading the story without any business insights
Overall this is great books and a good starting point for Critical Chain Managment