“Critical the schedule. Non-critical chain is activities

“Critical Chain” by Eliyahu Goldratt.

 Book introduction

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This is one of the good books I have read. Coming to the main story of this book is about a professor Named Rick who is struggling hard to grow up in an academic field after doing his MBA

The main point is that Goldratt makes it clear to change educational systems to consider the present scenario of changing world of business and incorporate it.

As the book teaches points out the problems that how time estimates are used on the projects

This book also tells us about the TOC which is also known as Theory of construction and it is well explained by the example of Steel mill

After the giving the idea of Theory of constraints, it further tells us how to apply the particular concept to schedule generation, multiple projects and resource constraints

Core idea of the book

In today’s scenario the most common problems faced by the projects is time overruns, budget overruns and compromising the context. For this Eliyahu Goldratt has given a solution that is “theory of constraints”. The principle steps of “theory of constraints” is that first to identify the main delay of the system i.e.; bottleneck, which it must be scheduled the sequence of work to run fulltime, later to attach other processes by adding buffer, next by increasing the constraints and to repeat.

According to Goldratt, delaying of the works of the project with the close late time schedule has the advantage that the team will learn with experience and knowledge gained by doing the remaining part of the works

Another idea is the “critical chain” which it tells about adjusting the schedules to reduce the chances of project being late. Critical chain is general critical path, but it adds the effect of resources on the schedule. Non-critical chain is activities which are not there on the critical chain which it has float to them, this non-critical activity will form another subproject in work, according to Goldratt it is called as “Feeder chain”.

Another idea is adding safety to every single step in the undertaking can decrease the vulnerability in project to create a task time length that will basically ensure the project finished on time.

Even it tells about Information technology which it says that “A project will run out of time but will never run out of excuses”

As coming to the organization, the top-level management such as CEO, MD and other Board of Directors they blame for external factors and the project participants as being honest are blaming the management and their internal politics

At 80% confidence point the estimate is judged where the estimator believes that a particular activity has 80% chances to complete within the given time.


Critical Chain is written as a novel, not like a Project manager’s how-to guide. The main story in the book is about an associate professor named Rick Silver who is struggling to make it in the academic world. He is a very good teacher, but he wants tenure and is in need of publications. His area is project management and he wants the articles to make a difference in this field. The fact is that the theories applied to project management are not effective and projects are running late at high expenses. The work is moving very slow, but he gets the inspiration when he is assigned to teach a course in an Executive MBA course. During the course professor Silver and his students develop the concept of the “Critical Chain”. The teaching style of professor Silver is conversation with the students about different topics. The students get homework to do and in this course the homework tasks becomes case studies for the theories that they develop in the classes. He is also helped by the fact that three of his students are involved in a project at their company to develop a way to cut product development time.

The plot is used to maintain interest in the subject and provide a real life feel to the book. It provides plenty of real-world examples. The plot of the novel is fourfold:

1. A professor trying to become tenured, 2. A business school’s struggle to improve enrollment, 3. Teaching philosophy, 4. Applying the Theory of Constraints to Project management. 

Throughout the book the theory is developed, and different concepts of project management are covered. The inspiration for the critical chain comes from the “Theory of Constraints” (TOC), which is taught by another professor in production management. TOC identifies the bottleneck or constraint, exploits it and then subordinates all other activities to that bottleneck. The same concept is shown throughout the book to apply to project management as well on several levels.

The goal of the book is the last point, but Goldratt makes it clear that educational systems must change to better accommodate the quickly changing world of business.

The book walks the reader through a series of steps to establish the principles for the discussion. It is written for someone with a modicum of project management background.

The book starts by pointing out the problems with how time estimates are normally done on projects. It then provides a primer on the Theory of Constraints and an example of its implementation in a steel mill. With the foundation set, it proceeds to show how the Theory of Constraints can be applied to schedule generation, resources constraints and multiple projects. 



Finally, after reading such a wonderful book of business novel which tends to draw the attention of an individual to gather the knowledge of Project management concepts. It shows a good story of an individual name RICK who is an assistant professor in a small university and his job Is in risk because MBA courses are all about theoretical knowledge and the courses are not delivering the practical skills needed by business.

The book covers various concepts such as “Think tanks, Budget overruns, Time over runs, Pert and Gant techniques, Theory of constraints, Vendor management and many more interesting topics have been covered by the author.