The phrase critical chain method refers to a specific project management technique in which a schedule network analysis is used for the purposes of modifying an already determined and set project schedule to account for more limited than expected project financial resources. The critical chain method takes into a count a number of factors when being used in analysis. These factors primarily include those of deterministic probabilities as well as probabilistic approaches to schedule network analysis. The critical chain method should not be confused with other project management terms that involve the use and modification of the critical path, such as the critical path, the critical path method, and/or a critical activity. Also, the use of the word “critical” inn this instance does not necessarily carry the weight or significance as the word according to a standard dictionary definition. Critical carries a meaning more in line with ‘primary” than “essential” or “vital” as you may find with other uses of the term outside of the area of project management.
This term is defined in the 3rd and the 4th edition of the PMBOK.