Home  >  Blog  >   PMP

Critical Chain Project Management

If you are a software engineer or work in a corporate setting, you have probably heard a lot about project management and its importance in terms of project management. But what is Critical Chain Project Management, and why is it so important? In this post, we'll explain what critical chain project management is and how it's employed.

Rating: 4

If you are a software professional or working in a corporate organization you might have often heard about Project Management and its essence in terms of managing a project. But are you wondering what is Critical Chain Project Management?

So in this article, we will be discussing What is Critical Chain Project Management and will go through how it is used.

Critical Chain Project Management

Critical Chain Project Management is also called Buffer Management. It is often denoted as (CC/BM) approach. It was first designed or introduced by E. Goldratt within his novel “Critical Chain”. It was written in the year 1987 as an application of “Theory of Constraints”. It is considered as a Project Management Technique which introduced some novel ideas to the well known and generally accepted resource-constrained project scheduling principles.

If you want to build your career as a PMP certified professional, then visit Mindmajix - A Global online training platform for “PMP Training”  Course.  This course will help you to achieve excellence in this domain.

Using this process, i.e. Critical Chain Project Management also called Buffer Management focuses on providing an extra buffer in terms of time for the projects rather than focusing on individual activities.

By providing extra time and resources available for a particular project, it aids the overall project development. It is considered to be a clever way of managing the project and make sure the project is met with the deadline. This approach is considered to be a new approach where the projects are assured and delivered in a timely fashion compared to the traditional way of executing a project.

This way the team can be in a better position and have better project control right from the start till the finish point via the buffer management process.

In today’s article, we will be talking about Critical Chain Project Management or often called the Buffer Management (CC/BM) approach of project scheduling. All this process or approach is explained in the following six steps:

Each step is defined in detail below for an in-depth understanding.

Come up with aggressive estimates for a project

It is based on a general idea that the protection of the project deadline is the first and forecast goal for any project rather than protecting each and individual project activity. The duration of the activity can be allocated with an aggressive estimate so that it can avoid the activity to prolong for a longer duration than its original estimate.

The reason why most of the project activity has a very long duration of the activity is based on the three factors that Goldratt has mentioned.

  • As per Murphy’s Law: If something has to go wrong, it will.
  • As per Student Syndrome: Wait till urgency
  • As per Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the allotted time.
  • So to avoid these situations, one has to come up with aggressive timelines.

Build an ALAP schedule. I.e. As late as possible

As per the standard approach, the earliest start scheduling approach is commonly identified in traditional project management. But according to the Critical chain project management, it is advised to schedule each and every project activity as late as possible, obviously close to the predefined project deadline. As per the latest start schedule, it is quite risky because it will make every project activity as a part of the critical path which put the project deadline at risk. However, this process offers certain benefits or advantages.?

 MindMajix YouTube Channel

Identify the Critical Chain

The concept of Critical Chain is the same as that of the Critical Path process.

The Critical Path differentiates critical vs noncritical activities within a project. For Critical Chain is more focused on resource feasibility project schedule where the longest chain in the entire project that determines the total project duration.

The main difference between Critical Path vs Critical Chain is that takes the limited availability of renewable resources into account.

Understand and Determine appropriate buffer chains

According to the Critical Chain Project Management/ Buffer Management technique, strategy, and smart positioning of buffers to the projects and managing the project deadlines is crucial. Managing the buffers are of three different types.

Every buffer is catered towards a specific goal and it needs to be placed at the right place to protect the right part of the project stage.

Project Buffer:

This is a unique buffer which is used to protect the project deadline.

Feeding Buffer:

As the name suggests it is a multiple iterations buffer, i.e. Feeding buffer. This type of buffer is used to protect the critical chain for a project.

Resource Buffer:

This buffer style also caters to multiple artificial buffers which act as warning signals to the project and also talks about the availability of resources.

Based on the buffer chains, estimate appropriate buffer sizes

Within Critical Chain Project Management/ Buffer Management, having a considerable amount of sizing buffers will put the project a good amount of safety time to protect the execution is a crucial step. For this to happen, the project needs to be sized appropriately and at the same time, sizing buffers need to be allocated effectively.

So to be fairer, we can say that the sizing buffers should be equal and more than that of the delays caused within the project execution.

But according to Goldratt, as per his initial information in his novel, sizing buffers should be 50% of the time that was quoted to complete the project. But later on, this rule had more considerations and the process has slightly changed.

Check out PMP Interview Questions

Include buffers into the project schedule

So far we have talked about the different types of buffers and their usage within the project execution which will aid the entire project. So including these buffers into the project schedule is vital and at the same time, it creates a buffered project schedule. This buffered project schedule baseline can be used as a tool to measure performance and provides necessary dashboards that one needs to monitor the execution.


The difference between traditional Project Management vs Critical Chain Project Management is determined by its usage of buffers within the Project execution time and also making sure that the Critical Chain is intact.

If you feel any more information related to Critical Chain Project Management is worth reading then please do add those as comments in the “Comments” section below.

Related Article: Find-out More Project Management Articles 

Join our newsletter

Stay updated with our newsletter, packed with Tutorials, Interview Questions, How-to's, Tips & Tricks, Latest Trends & Updates, and more ➤ Straight to your inbox!

Course Schedule
PMP TrainingApr 27 to May 12View Details
PMP TrainingApr 30 to May 15View Details
PMP TrainingMay 04 to May 19View Details
PMP TrainingMay 07 to May 22View Details
Last updated: 03 Apr 2023
About Author

Ravindra Savaram is a Technical Lead at Mindmajix.com. His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

read more
Recommended Courses

1 / 13