Klariti Small Business Tips and Tools

About Us Free Tools Tips Templates Affiliates Site Map

MS Word template

Project Management's Critical Path

Another important concept in planning projects is that of the critical path. If a project consists of a set of tasks which need to be completed, the critical path represents the minimum such set, the critical set.

This might seem to be a contradiction since you might think completion of all tasks is necessary to complete a project; after all, if they weren’t necessary they wouldn’t be part of your project, would they?

The critical path represents not the ideal set of tasks to be complete for your project, but the minimum set It is this path that you must traverse in order to reach completion of your project on time. Other tasks while important to overall completion do not impact upon the final delivery for the project.

They can therefore be rescheduled if time is tight or circumstances change. Tasks on your critical path however will affect the delivery time of the project and therefore should only be modified in extremis.

In the following example the critical path is represented in bold. In order to complete my project of cooking breakfast I have to go through the steps of frying bacon and sausages and scrambling eggs.

The tasks “make toast” and “wash plates”, while important, are not time-dependent or as critical as the other three tasks. I can move either of those tasks but if I try to move anything on the critical path it’s going to delay the project.

Ideally I’d like to have toast with my breakfast but a) it’s not essential and b) it doesn’t matter where in the process it happens. If I make toast before or after scrambling my bacon, it makes little difference to the overall result.

On the other hand I can hardly fry my bacon before the oil is hot; nor can I scramble my eggs before frying my bacon (they’d turn to glue).

The critical path represents the critical sequence of events which must occur if I want to successfully complete my project.

Normally major 'milestones' will be represented on the critical path and they will often occur when different threads of the project come together.

For example in the diagram to the right my only milestone is when I serve the completed breakfast. At this point I will have finished my preparations and completed everything on both tracks. This is represented by a diamond in the diagram above.

If I suddenly discovered I was late for work, I could cheerfully discard the optional “toast” component of my project, take the critical path instead and still achieve my original milestone of delivering breakfast (and maybe even make it to work on time!).

Project Management Tutorials

 



software testing templates

standard operating procedure templates

white paper templates

T e m p l a t e   S h o p

Action Plan Template

Audience Analysis Template

Availability Plan Template

Bill of Materials Template

Business Case Template

Business Continuity Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Business Process Design Template

Business Requirements Specification Template

Business Rules Template

Capacity Plan Template

Case Study Templates

Change Management Plan Template

Communication Plan Template

Concept of Operations Template

Configuration Management Plan Template

Conversion Plan Template

Datasheet Template

Deployment Plan Template

Disaster Recovery Template

Disposition Plan Template

Documentation Plan Template

Employee Handbook Template

Expression of Interest Template

Free

Grant Proposal Template

Implementation Plan Template

Invitation To Tender Template

Market Research Templates

Marketing Plan Template

Operations Guide Template

Policy Manual Template

Project Plan Template

Proposal Manager Templates

Proposal Template

Release Notes Template

Request For Proposal Template

Risk Management Plan Template

Scope of Work Template

Service Level Agreement (SLA) Template

Small Business Video

Social Media Policy Templates

Software Development Lifecycle Templates

Software Testing Templates

Standard Operating Procedures Template

Statement of Work Template

System Administration Guide Template

Technical Writing Templates

technical writing templates

Test Plan Template

Training Plan Templates

Training Plan Templates

Troubleshooting Guide Template

Use Case Template

User Guide Template

White Papers

Work Instruction Templates

How to Write

Action Plans

Business Writing

Business Proposals

Case Studies

Process Design

Project Management

Standard Operating Procedures Course

White Papers

Write for the Web

Grant Writing

Software Development Templates

 



Email Me Here

Endorsements | About Us | Contact Us | Site Map | Privacy | License | T&Cs | FAQs