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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a different approach to project management..
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...
Published on 20 Jun 2010 by Ashutosh Jhureley

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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Thoughts About Scheduling and Coordinating Projects
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...
Published on 14 May 2004 by Donald Mitchell


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Thoughts About Scheduling and Coordinating Projects, 14 May 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Critical Chain (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. With many tasks going on simultaneously, often none of them get done well.
The solution is to cut back on each individual schedule in favor of having all of the slack managed for the whole project, and communicating frequently about when the work really will be done so the next step can be ready to take up the baton. Then focus all measurements on project completion, rather than task completion. Give priority to whatever can hold the whole project back. Add resources there, too, if possible. In doing this, focus on both activities and resources as potential bottlenecks.
The book also has some good sections on how to negotiate with external suppliers to improve performance, and how to think about the tradeoffs between speed and cost as a supplier and as a purchaser of supplies and services.
Without changes in top management policies, most project managers will not be allowed to use all of these principles. So be sure to share this book upward, as well as sideways, and downward in the organization. If you are in a small company, it will be much easier to do.
After you have finished reading this book, I suggest that you look at the last 20 projects that your organization has done. What was done well? What was not? Which of these issues can be helped by Mr. Goldratt's ideas? Which cannot? For these latter, I suggest you look for best practices and imagine what perfection could look like to design a simple, but effective, alternative with better communications. The new book, It's Not the BIG etc., may be helpful to you in this regard.
May you continuously improve your effectiveness in project management!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a different approach to project management.., 20 Jun 2010
By 
Ashutosh Jhureley "ashutosh jhureley" (Hemel Hempstead, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Critical Chain (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, thought provoking and powerful concepts., 27 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Critical Chain (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as The Goal, 21 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Critical Chain (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential introduction to TOC applied to PM, 17 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Critical Chain (Paperback)
40% of this novel is story, 60% is information. Half of the latter is a repetition of The Goal (explaining the Theory of Constraints). This, however, makes this new book so easy to read. It is almost like a follow-up to the setting at the plant.
Really interesting are the last two pages: two independent variables are needed to describe investment (unit is "dollar-days"). But this, of course, means that TIME ISN'T MONEY...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all IT professionals., 12 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Critical Chain (Paperback)
This is an absolute must for all IT professionals/managers. Since some 75 plus percent of all projects are either killed or delievered late by the IT departments. Project management as taught in this book will show you how to deliver on time, without sacrificing quality. Three simple steps, limit multi-tasking, end procrastination, and plan for dependencies are just the beginning, as Eliyahu Goldratt walks you through an entertaining story filled with detailed examples of what it takes to improve your delievery time. IT departments all over the world need to read this book, they need to become more efficient and they need to deliever on time. Critical Chain will make this happen.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too much padding, 17 Nov 2013
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Great concepts but is the platform of a novel really necessary? The substance of critical chain could be condensed into one concise chapter without any loss of content or understanding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Goldratt Weaves Another Great Story!, 27 Aug 2008
This review is from: Critical Chain (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!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking

Goal, The
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goldratt has done it again! This time with Project Mgmt., 18 May 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Critical Chain (Paperback)
If you only buy one book this year, this is it! Take the Theory of Constraints [TOC] and apply it to Project Management and you have Critical Chain. Set in a university with numerous business connections and you have the perfect environment for his latest business novel about TOC.

As good [if not better] than The Goal. It stands alone; one does not need to read The Goal or It's Not Luck to apprecaite this exciting new release.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars bad novel, good textbook, learned a lot., 24 Jun 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Critical Chain (Paperback)
Don't swallow the hype. Its not gripping, its not
especially fast paced, you won't be glued to your seat. The story is poor and the characters would kill you and me both just for a chance to get promoted to two dimensions.

BUT, what this book is very good at is teaching the theory and application of the Theory of Constraints in a conversational tone. There's no equations and occaisionally it uses pictures to make its points. The format of a novel is a convention that allows the reader to slip through the text as if they were given in lecture style, rather than in the form of a textbook. A much easier way to take material that can be pretty esoteric. And the esoterica problem is handled by introducing several characters with "real world" problems that are analyzed througout the book. The targeteted level appears to be college undergraduate or even high school, which is to say its easy reading aimed at getting the concepts across without any oddball jargon.

The point of the story is how Theory of Constraints, and other management theories such as TQM, Continuous Quality Improvement and use of metrics can be applied with good effect to the Project Management world as well as to the Production and Manufacturing worlds. Critical Path Method is stressed as the key tool to examining and exposing the problems that will be encountered and the book then describes the management attitude and method changes that should be adopted to improve the overall effectiveness of a project team, and by extension, the whole organization.

This will never be a book you'll want to see made into a major Hollywood motion picture, but if you always wanted to understand and apply Theory of Constraints to your business practices, this is the painless way to sit through several lectures on the subject. You'll walk away with a few very useful tools and a map to the larger pitfalls you'll encounter (or may already BE encountering!) on your way to strengthening your orgainzation.
I got through it in about 14 hours reading, with frequent interuptions. If its something you need, its definitely worth doing.
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