Critical Chain Project Management Software (CCPM)

PD-Trak offers Critical Chain Software (CCPM software) as an add-on to Microsoft ProjectTM.  The Critical Chain Project Management methodology has been touted by many as the most important development in the project management field in <30 years.  In contrast to the traditional Critical Path method, the Critical Chain Project Management method uses more aggressive task duration estimates in combination with buffers that are monitored as the project is executed.  The method creates a team dynamic where team members work together to protect the buffers.  When properly implemented, this can result in dramatic improvements in on time completion of projects.  Click here for a more detailed description of the Critical Chain Project Management methodology.

The Critical Chain Gantt Chart tool can be purchased as part of PD-Trak Project and Portfolio Management system, or it can be purchased seperately for use on a stand-alone basis.  When purchased seperately, the tool comes with an interface file that allows new Critical Chain Gantt Chart files to be created based on license codes that can be purchased.   The stand-alone system price is $2,000 which includes five (5) Critical Chain Gantt Chart files.  Additional files can be created by purchasing license codes for $1,000 for five (5) files.
Requirements for Use

The PD-Trak Critical Chain Gantt Chart tool requires the use of Microsoft ProjectTM 2003 or later.  The tool can be implemented internally on a LAN directory or delivered as a hosted service with high speed web access.

Before explaining how the tool is intended to be used, we should point out that this level of detailed project planning will only add value after performing some critical initial steps, including: clearly definining the project objectives and deliverables, risk analysis and business case development.  There are other tools in the PD-Trak Project Portfolio Management System that are designed to facilitate this up-front work.

Critical Chain Project Planning

Once the objectives and scope have been defined, we can begin to develop a detailed task plan.  The following
screen shot shows a sequence of hypothetical tasks.  Note that the safe duration numbers represent the estimates
used in typical project planning which would have a 80-90% confidence level.  The average durations are typically 50% of the safe estimates.

Each of the Critical Chain planning steps are laid out in a floating menu bar.  The next step is to level the tasks to resolve
resource contentions, by clicking on the Level Resources checkbox:

The Critical Chain is calculated by clicking the Calc Critical Chain checkbox.  The tool calculates the critical chain, shown in red:

The feeder and project buffers are calculated by clicking the Calc Buffers checkbox.  The buffers are shown in green:

The buffers are inserted into the timeline by clicking the Insert Buffers checkbox:

The Critical Chain planning process is completed by setting the baseline, by clicking the Set Baseline checkbox:

Critical Chain Project Tracking

Project task durations and completion levels are updated as the project progresses.  The Tracking pull down allows
buffers to be updated and a buffer report to be generated:

The following screen shot shows the updated buffer durations part way through the project.  The thick black bars indicate
level of completion. The buffer color changes to purple when buffers are less than 50% of original value, and red
if less than 25%:

The buffer report is generated in Excel by selecting Buffer Report from the Tracking pull down:

Multi-Project Resource Planning

Resource analysis may be performed across a set of selected projects when the Critical Chain Gantt Chart tool
is used in conjunction with the PD-Trak Project and Portfolio Management system.