Critical Path Method (CPM)?
It’s not easy to understand how to determine Critical Path and use Critical Path in project management. It’s not uncommon to use a large amount of data and algorithms to calculate Critical Path.
This article will take you through the Critical Path Concept and its components. We’ll also discuss what it is and why it’s beneficial. We’ll also provide examples of Critical Path methods, solutions for project management software, and tools to help you calculate Critical Path.
What is the Critical Path?
Most projects are broken down into activities or tasks (whatever you prefer to refer to smaller pieces that have to be completed to complete the project). The most critical process is a set of tasks that will take the most time to finish the project when executed sequentially and considering all of the elements.
Said, the critical path determines the SHORTEST project duration possible by lining up the longest sequence of tasks required to complete the project.
6 Benefits of Critical Path Analysis
To predict when a project will be completed, it is essential to do a critical path analysis.
Here are the 6 major benefits of CPM:
- This technique visualizes the projects in a simple graphic format.
- It is the most important aspect of the most crucial tasks.
- It saves time and aids in managing deadlines.
- It allows you to compare the actual status with the plan.
- Identifies all the critical tasks that require attention.
- Dependencies that are clear and transparent
What are the limitations of the Critical Path Method (CPM)?
It is thought that Critical Path Method CPM was developed for complex and routine projects, with the potential for having a minimal change in the completion time of the tasks. However, CPM loses its usefulness when projects are more chaotic.
There are alternative options, for example, PERT diagrams, that allow for changing each exercise duration.
Critical Path Method: Key Stages
CPM consists of 6 consecutive steps:
1. Identify activities /tasks
To understand the project’s scope, you can split the work plan into tasks and give those codes or names. Each task in the project should have a date and a duration.
2. Identify the sequences
It is the most critical step as it gives an understanding of the connections between different activities and helps establish dependencies as certain actions depending on the completion of others.
3. Create a network of all your activities
After identifying which actions depend on one another, you can create an outline of a network or path analysis chart. Then, with the help of arrows, one can connect different activities dependent on their interdependencies.
4. Define the amount of time to complete each activity
It is possible to estimate the time it will take to do each step. This will allow you to determine the time it takes to finish the project. Small tasks can be completed within a few days; however, larger projects will take more time.
5. Find a critical path
The activity network will assist you in creating the longest sequence crucial path by using the following parameters:
- Early Start: The time before the other tasks are completed.
- Early Finish: the nearest date and time needed to finish the job.
- Late Finish: All activities are completed without postponing the deadlines.
- Late Start: The last time the task is completed, less the deadline.
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