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Critical Chain Paperback – 4 Sep 1997

28 customer reviews

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Paperback, 4 Sep 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Gower Publishing Ltd (4 Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0884271536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0884271536
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 495,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Anyone who doesn't snap up a copy is missing a wonderful opportunity for professional and personal development.' - Assembly 'This book 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 innovated new products.' - Harvard Business Review '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 'Critical Chain will revolutionize project management.' - World Aero-Engine Review '... would be of use to project managers who require more sensitive project management methods than those they currently employ ... would also be useful for those who are not convinced of the benefit of project management methods.' - British Journal of Healthcare, Computing & Information Management --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dr Eliyahu M Goldratt was an internationally recognized leader in the development of new business management concepts and systems, originator of the Theory of Constraints (TOC), and author of The Goal, It's Not Luck, and several other successful books explaining the Thinking Process at the heart of TOC. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 May 2004
Format: Paperback
There is an old saying: To a carpenter, every problem looks like a nail.
Having now read two of Mr. Goldratt's books, it appears that to him every management issue is a scheduling and coordination problem. While that's true, product development management of difficult tasks is also sensitive to many other things like getting competent resources, having the right amount of input from each function early in the process, and developing the ability to produce the finished product efficiently and effectively. Those other issues are essentially untouched in this book.
Think of this book as applying the system coordination and optimization concepts of Mr. Goldratt's famous novel, The Goal, to project management.
If you have already read The Goal, this book will be much easier to understand than if you have not. Although many of the same concepts are explained here as in The Goal, the explanations in this book are not nearly as thorough and clear. Also, the plot and plot line in this book will probably not be as enjoyable to you as The Goal. I rated the book down two stars for these kinds of weaknesses.
If you have read The Goal, Mr. Goldratt basically substitutes scheduling safety margins for work-in-progress inventory, and then applies the same debottlenecking concepts as in The Goal.
If you have not read The Goal, Mr. Goldratt's argument is that schedules are put together with too much slack. Everyone wants to be almost sure they can meet a deadline. The deadkube date they pick usually relates to the most they can get away with. Usually, that much time is not needed and people start late. If they end early, they never tell anyone. So any delay puts the whole project back because there is no project scheduling slack.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ashutosh Jhureley on 20 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
Unlike other project management guides or BoKs, it uses real life like examples to introduce Critical Chain (Theory of Constraints) approach to project management.

Storyline is around an executive MBA Project Management class, where the professor (Richard Silver, main character) discusses and tries to address issues in project management using real life example from the class. In the process, they evolve "Critical Chain" approach to project management by applying principles of Theory of Constraints.

The book is written very much like a fast paced novel with quite a few plots; struggle of a professor at work and home, shortcomings of teaching methodologies, project management using theory of constraints and few more.

good: fast-paced, like novel not a guide, challenges thinking process
bad: bit difficult to follow without understanding of Theory of Constraints, not as good as The Goal.

Must read for all project managers, as it gives another perspective or approach to project management, and can be applied to their existing framework.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading it - and learnt a lot from it. There are some real nuggets and it changes the way you think about constraints on improving performance. It's set in a project management context, yet the potential application of the thinking is much wider than that. Not many books you can read this easily and yet get so much from. At times it's a little patronising, but you get more than enough out of it to forgive this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
TOC is OK for simple operations that are run by really stupid managers, but fails to offer a lot of assistance for real world problems in a moderately complex organization. I think the book High-Mix Low Volume Manufactring by Mahoney does a much better, if much more boring, job of explaining the complex decision making process that is really needed. For example, it is rare that operations or logistics knows the status of jobs, or the operators, or the equipment, or the material, as well as is needed to take full advantage of any of the techniques, even in a fairly small plant. This results in information "noise". Add to this variable delay time, and the combination acts to reduce the effectiveness of any control system: this is basic feedback theory. TOC works well in stable (low mix) environments, but may not lead to the most efficient operation in other settings.
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Format: Paperback
Stories are one of the best ways to teach and Eliyahu Goldratt is a master story teller! In Critical Chain Goldratt weaves a tale to teach concepts to project managers on how to drive down schedule time, and reduce product cost using Theory of Constraints (TOC). It is an extension of the concepts taught in the Goal, but this time for project management rather than process management.

The problem management (at a factitious company) face in this book is their products have a short life span (6 months), but a long development time (2 years). Consequently they have to continually develop new products. To compound their problems, if they miss picking a good product, or launch an inferior product they could loose significant market share. Company loyalty just isn't what it used to be.

Fortunately, management realizes it is not a matter of "if" but "when" they will stumble. They assign a tiger team of young blood to drive down development time. This team has no idea where to start, and this book is the story of their journey of discovery.

The reader is taken on the journey with the team and learns about resources, bottlenecks, buffers, critical paths, constraints and more. By learning how to apply The Theory of Constraints the team (and the reader) is able to discover ways of reducing product development time significantly.

Overall, this is another excellent book by Eliyahu Goldratt. I learned a great deal from the Goal and Critical Chain. Goldratt is on a mission to change project management (and process management) from an art to a science. He does a great job at providing the tools and techniques for anyone willing to learn and apply these powerful concepts!
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