The critical chain, in project management, is the sequence of both precedence- and resource-dependent terminal elements that prevents a project from being completed in a shorter time, given finite resources. If resource availability is not a constraint, then a project’s critical chain becomes the same as its critical path (just like Einstein’s theory reduces to Newton’s under conditions of low speeds and gravity). (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

(see also Theory of Constraints)

Other Definitions

Critical Chain (CC) – That set of tasks which determines the overall duration of a project , after taking resource capacity into account . It is typically regarded as the constraint or leverage point of a project. (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms v3.1)

Critical Chain (CC) – The longest set of dependent activities, with explicit consideration of resource availability, to achieve a project goal. The Critical Chain is NOT the same as you get from performing resource leveling on a critical path schedule. The Critical Chain defines an alternate path which completes the project earlier by resolving resource contention up front. (

Critical Chain (CC) – This is the longest dependent chain of events in a project plan when both resource dependency and task dependency are taken into account. (

Critical Chain (CC) – Part of Critical Chain Project Management. That set of tasks which determines the over-all duration of a project. Usually it requires taking resource capacity into account. It is typically regarded as the constraint or leverage point of a project.(

Critical Chain (CC) -The critical chain is explicitly defined as a resource-leveled set of tasks. (Frank Patrick’s–Critical Chain FAQ)

J. Jerrald Hayes
I am ex-architectural woodworker and general contractor turned IT, Business and Project Management consultant, software developer wannabe senior division triathlete and ski racer, Yankee fan and founder of, 360 Difference, and now too.
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