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How to Calculate Critical Path? 9 Important Points

Table of Contents

What is a Critical Path in project management?

How do you find the critical path and float?

How to work out a critical path?

How to calculate float?

What is the use of Critical Path analysis?

Advantages and disadvantages of the Critical Path?

Benefits of Critical Path Method (CPM):

How to Calculate Critical Path in MS Project?

How to calculate the Critical Path in Primavera P6?

Identification of Critical Path in Primavera P6

What is total float in the Critical Path method?

How does free float help to minimize the delay?

 Summary


What is a Critical Path in project management?

The critical path consists of the longest sequence of activities from project start to finish that must be completed to ensure the project is finished by a certain time. The activities along the critical path must be very closely managed. If tasks on the critical path get delayed, take immediate action to bring the project tasks back on track.

Else, the whole project can be delayed. The critical route is the longest series of actions that must be completed from the project start to finish in order to complete the project on time. On the critical path, operations must be closely monitored. Take quick measures to get the project back on track if the tasks on the critical path slide.

Otherwise, the project as a whole could be pushed back. Understanding the critical path technique entails establishing what activity must be accomplished on time to complete the project on schedule. Other actions that are not on the essential path, however, may be equally vital and demand extra attention.

How do you find the critical path and float?

How to work out a critical path?

  • Make a task list for the project. Prepare a list of your responsibilities.
  • Organize and categorize your dependencies. Arrange your duties in a logical order.
  • The Network Diagram should be drawn. You can now build a visual representation of your task line-up.
  • Calculate the length of time.
  • Carry out resource-levelling.
  • Determine which path is critical.

How to calculate float?

The overall project float is the variance between the early end date and the required project completion date, while the early start date is the start date of each activity.

What is the use of Critical Path analysis?

The Project Team can use the critical path to govern the most critical tasks of a project. If you're an experienced project manager working on multiple projects, although, you might have not faced any issues, then why should you bother? Here are three more ways critical path can benefit you succeed with your project:

  • Shortened Timelines

You may visualize the critical path activities as well as task durations and sequences when the critical path approach is displayed as a bar chart, such as a Gantt chart. Critical route tasks are highlighted in red in Smartsheet, making them easier to detect at a glance.

This gives you a better grasp of which task durations you can change, and which must remain the same, as well as a deeper level of insight into your project's timeline and a correlation between tasks. It's simple to determine what tasks are important for time reduction if you want to accomplish the project without a delay.

  • Improved Resource Management

You may visualize the critical path activities as well as task durations and sequences when the critical path approach is displayed as a bar chart, such as a Gantt chart. Critical path tasks are normally highlighted in red in the project plan sheet, making them handy to see at a glance.

This gives you a better grasp of which task lengths you can change and which one must remain the same. This also gives a deeper level of insight into the project's scheduling and interdependencies between the tasks.

  •  Better Planning

The critical path method is also very useful to compare actual progress with planned tasks. The Project Manager can recognize the tasks that are complete the projected remaining duration for the tasks that are in progress, and any new changes to the upcoming task schedule or durations.

The resultant project plan when exhibited against the baseline project timeline, will offer a visual way of comparing actual progress against planned activities.

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Advantages and disadvantages of the Critical Path?

Benefits of Critical Path Method (CPM):

  • It shows tasks that can run parallel to each other.
  • It helps the project manager to identify the most critical aspects of the project.
  • It provides a practical and instructive foundation that helps to determine how goals can be achieved.
  • CPM is active in the management of a new project.
  • CPM can strengthen the team's vision if used properly.
  • CPM provides dependency guidance that helps to plan individual activities.
  • Displays its functions and effects as a network diagram.
  • Provides an appropriate and concise process for project writing.
  • It helps to determine the lazy time.
  • A clear and concise way of collaborating project plans, time management, schedules, and costs are developed.
  • It is widely used in the industry.
  • It helps to work by determining the length of the project.

Disadvantages of Critical Path Method (CPM):

  • Staff planning is not managed by CPM.
  • In CPM, it is difficult to estimate completion time.
  • The critical approach is not always prominent in CPM.
  • For large projects, CPM networks can also be difficult.
  • Nor does it manage resource allocation planning.
  • For CPM, a critical approach needs to be calculated accurately.

https://youtu.be/Vi6A-KrU2T8

How to Calculate Critical Path in MS Project?

The Gantt Chart view will likely be your most used view for showing the critical path in MS Project.

  • Choose View > Gantt Chart.
  • Choose Format, and then click the Critical Tasks check box.
  • Tasks on the critical path will then show in a red Gantt bar.

critical path

How to calculate the Critical Path in Primavera P6?

The Critical Path Method (CPM) is a commonly used planning method and is commonly referred to as critical planning. This planning method is used to plan and manage the Project and calculates the minimum lead time for the Project and the start time and end time for all the project activities.

CPM is the target of the Project planning room today. How long a project lasts depends on its main functions. There should be no delays in the critical course of project activities. Any delay in one critical work process results in delays for the entire project in equal measure. The important point to understand here is that normally you don’t find float in the critical path.

Identification of Critical Path in Primavera P6

Once you have completed our course “Primavera P6 Basics” follow the number of steps below to point the critical path. First, press F9 and then click the Options button. Find the "Define a critical function" option. Choose the Path too long or the Total Float less than or equal to 0. Click the Schedule button.

What is total float in the Critical Path method?

A complete float, also called a float or loosening, is a period of time where work can be delayed without postponing the total duration of the project.  A free float is the duration of time where a task can be delayed without deferring the earlier start of any immediate tracking activity.

How does free float help to minimize the delay?

Suppose there is an activity that is now running behind the schedule and fortunately the subsequent activity has an inbuilt float of 5 days. That means if the predecessor activity (which is behind the schedule), completes within additional 5 days, the overall project plan will remain unfaceted and that’s where Float helps to minimize the delay.

 Summary

Critical approach analysis identifies the sequence of important and interrelated steps that involve the action plan from start to finish. It also identifies unimportant tasks. The concept of a critical approach recognizes that the completion of some tasks in a project depends on the completion of other tasks.

I hope the above blog provides you with an in-depth knowledge of Critical Path Analysis.

 

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