When it comes to Project Management, project planning is a very significant part of it. While a project is a single entity in itself, it does contain many other entities in the form of the individual activities that need to be performed. In order for a project to be successfully and efficiently completed, it is necessary that each of the activities should be completed. Among the activities, there are a few that need to be finished before other activities can be started. All these factors and interrelationships among the activities bring and element of complexity to the project.
In order to successfully cope with all these complexities, there is need for a technique that can help with this aspect of project planning. The Critical Path Method is one of the techniques used for that very purpose. Through the use of CPM scheduling, the project manager can answer many questions regarding the activities in the project. Based on the duration of each activity, the Critical Path Method can tell the project manager how long the project is going to take until it is completed. In complex projects, there are all kinds of activities and among them are also the critical activities. These are the ones whose completion in the designated time is vital in order for the project to be completed in time.
Project Managers use the CPM Software to make the critical pathfor the purpose of determining all these characteristics and answers about the activities. While there are the basic diagrams for CPM, there are also more complex ones for complex projects for which project managers can use CPM Scheduling Software and can also make the diagrams with Project Management Software.
For using the Critical Path Method, one of the first steps is to make the Activity Diagram, in which all the activities and their dependencies as well as durations are drawn and it forms a network of tasks. This diagram gives clear insight into which activities ought to be completed before some of the other activities can be started. In this case, the latter activities are dependent on the former ones. The activities on which some other activities depend are called the “Critical Activities” and they make a critical path by determining the earliest start and earliest finish and late start and late finish durations.
Those activities that are not on the critical path have more margins for completion and can be delayed. They have slack or float. Those activities that are on the critical path don’t have slack. When you insert the data into the CPM Scheduling Software or the Project Management Software, it can determine the critical path for you through the application of the Critical Path Method.
There are cases in which the costs of each activity are also given. Through use of CPM Software, you can determine the critical path and then, find out, on the basis of cost, whether it would be feasible for you to speed up the entire project. In case there is a chance for speeding up, the CPM Scheduling Technique can determine for you the least costly way you can apply so that project will speed up.