Getting Durable Results with Critical Chain—A Field Report (Chapter 4 of the Theory of Constraints Handbook)

Realization Technologies, Inc.


Level of TOC knowledge acquired:

Advanced and Intermediate


24 pages

Designed for:

Consultants, Implementers and Project Managers


Project Management


Buffer Management and Critical Chain







The purpose of this chapter is to share how successful adopters have put Critical Chain concepts into practice and achieved durable results. It is based on Realization’s experience from more than 200 Enterprise-level implementations of Critical Chain (meaning that the implementation was not restricted to a project manager or a small team, but involved multiple departments).

The range of these includes: new product development; pharmaceutical R&D; development of IT applications; engineer-to-order manufacturing; shipbuilding; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC); and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft, submarines and ships, as well as steel plants and oil refineries. Starting with a quick recap of Critical Chain, it discusses practical challenges in implementing it successfully.

Then, a step-by-step process of implementation is described, followed by an overview of lessons learned over the last ten years. Finally, before the summary, there are answers to the frequently asked questions that have not been covered in the rest of the paper.


  • Background
  • Purpose and Organization
  • Recap of Critical Chain
  • Practical Challenges in Implementing Critical Chain
  • Step-By-Step Process for Implementing Critical Chain
  • Lessons Learned
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Comprehensive coverage of the Theory of Constraints 

Complete Table of contents of the Theory of Constraints Handbook

About the Authors:

James F. Cox III, Ph.D, CFPIM, CIRM, holds TOCICO certifications in all disciplines. He is a Jonah's Jonah, Professor Emeritus, and was the Robert O. Arnold Professor of Business in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Dr. Cox has written three books on TOC.

John Schleier holds TOCICO certifications in all disciplines. He was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Mortgage Services Division of Alltel, Inc., Executive Vice President of Computer Power, Inc., and Director of Office Systems and Data Delivery for IBM.


The Theory of Constraints Handbook: