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Does Critical Path Method Waste Our Time?

The network diagram consists of many paths, and the characteristics of ones are that they are starting from one point and finishes in another point. These paths are differentiated from each other because of their durations, and the one that lasts the longest period is named the critical path method. The critical path method is a step-by-step project management technique for process planning that defines critical and non-critical tasks with the goal of preventing time-frame problems and process bottlenecks. (1)

            The application of the critical path method consists of several steps:

  • Define the required tasks and put them down in an ordered list.
  • Create a flowchart or other diagram showing each task in relation to the others.
  • Identify the critical and non-critical relationships among tasks.
  • Determine the expected completion or execution time for each task.
  • Locate or devise alternatives for the most critical paths.

The critical path is the longest-duration path through the network. What does this mean? Activities located on this path cannot be delayed without delaying the project. Because of its impact on the entire project, critical path analysis is an important aspect of project planning. The critical path is the path through the project network in which none of the activities have been delayed, that is, the path for which ES=LS and EF=LF for all activities in the path. A delay in the critical path delays the project. (3)

Critical path identification is required for any project-planning phase. This gives the project management the correct completion date of the overall project and the flexibility to float activities.

Following are advantages of critical path methods:

  • Offers a visual representation of the project activities.
  • Presents the time to complete the tasks and the overall project.
  • Tracking of critical activities.

A critical path diagram should be constantly updated with actual information when the project progresses in order to refine the activity length/project duration predictions. (2)

Reference

  1. http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/critical-path-method-CPM
  2. https://www.tutorialspoint.com/management_concepts/critical_path_method.htm
  3. https://www.thebalance.com/critical-path-method-scheduling-844481
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