International Journal of Project Management 18 (2000) 173±177
Critical chain: the theory of constraints applied to project management
Graham K. Rand*
Department of Management Science, The Management School, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YX, UK
Abstract In his recently published third novel, Critical Chain, Eli Goldratt applied his Theory of Constraints to project management. This paper explores the relationship between the ideas developed in the novel and the CPM/PERT approach. # 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: CPM; Project management; Theory of constraints
1. Introduction In the early 1980s, a novel was published which has subsequently been read by many hundreds of thousands of executives, production planners and shop ¯oor workers. The Goal  sets out Eli Goldratt's ideas on how production should be planned. The methodology was made available in the production planning system OPT (Optimised Production Technology) which was marketed by Creative Output Inc . These ideas were later broadened to encompass other areas such as marketing and distribution in a further novel, It's Not Luck , and the theory widened to become the Theory of Constraints. Technical details are found in two further books [4,5]. In his third novel, Critical Chain , Eli Goldratt demonstrates the application of his Theory of Constraints to Project Management. The novel is set mostly in an American MBA class, and the ideas are developed in discussions between the lecturer and the students. The lecturer is ®ghting for tenure with the
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +0044-01524-593-849; Fax: +004401524-844-885. E-mail address: email@example.com (G.K. Rand).
University President, who expects a downturn in the Executive MBA registrations. The lecturer is teaching project management as a result of discussions between himself and a senior colleague. He wants to teach a course that will create...