Disadvantages of the Critical Path Method
Planning and scheduling your projects can become a breeze with the Critical Path Method (CPM). But you can also face certain drawbacks while using this tool.
These drawbacks can cause incorrect time estimates, poor scheduling, and potential cost overruns.
Read on to see the kinds of disappointments you might come across while using the Critical Path Method.
What are Some Disadvantages of the Critical Path Method
The critical path method involves complexities, lacks flexibility, overlooks non-critical tasks, and consumes time. It is also insensitive to resource allocation and unsuitable for bulky projects.
Take a closer look at these disadvantages of the Critical Path Method.
1. Involves Complexities
The critical path method is not always easy to use, especially if you’re a beginner. It involves identifying dependencies, drawing a network diagram, and doing complex calculations.
What’s more, you’ll have to break down large projects into smaller tasks. This breakdown certainly helps deliver the project on time. But it can take a lot of your time and effort. Plus, identifying the critical paths may be difficult in some projects.
2. Lacks Flexibility
While CPM is a great tool to schedule your project, you will have to stick to a rigid timetable and plan. That’s because CPM is not very flexible. It does not adapt well to making improvisations on the fly.
For instance, if there is a sudden change in the plan, it is very difficult and time-consuming to redraw the entire CPM chart.
3. Includes Guesswork
While using CPM, you will also have to guesstimate the task durations. This increases the risk of human error, making the timeline less reliable and CPM less useful.
In certain tasks, it becomes difficult to estimate their completion time. This in turn decreases the overall accuracy of the critical path method in scheduling.
4. Lacks Versatility
Not all types of projects lend themselves to the critical path method. There is a lack of versatility and applicability in this tool.
For instance, your project should have a predictable and repeatable timeline, like in construction and software projects. But if your project is more creative, with unpredictable changes, CPM will not be a good fit.
5. Insensitive to Resource Allocation
Another drawback you might face with CPM is its lack of insight into resource allocation. The tool does not provide you with the means to allocate the resources needed to meet the deadlines.
At the same time, it does not highlight any overlap of resource use. This can result in congestion, causing delays and unforeseen costs.
6. Overlooks Non-Critical Tasks
The critical path method helps you focus on critical tasks. But it overlooks the non-critical tasks. This can also cause delays in the completion of your projects.
For example, if you’re working on a construction project, installing the electrical system will not be a critical task. But if you forget about the wiring work or overlook it for too long, it will still impact the overall completion date.
7. Unsuitable for Bulky Projects
If your project is far too bulky and complicated, using CPM alone will not help you achieve your milestones. You will also have to use special software to monitor the plan.
Too many tasks can be hard to manage in a big project. And the breakdown of these tasks into subtasks can confuse your team members.
8. Time-Consuming Approach
Designing a CPM chart is a time-consuming process, especially in the case of a large and complex project. You will come across thousands of tasks and dependency relationships.
To make matters worse, any change during the project will damage your old chart. You will have to spend time and effort to redraw it.
The Bottom Line
While the critical path method can help you prioritize your tasks and deliver the project on time, it has its set of disadvantages, too.
You may lose a lot of time while creating CPM network charts. Plus, you will have to guesstimate time durations and break down tasks into subtasks. CPM will also involve complexities, ignore the non-critical tasks, and lack adaptability.
So, is CPM the right scheduling tool for you? Well, you can evaluate your project beforehand and see whether CPM will add value to it or slow it down.
This will help you make informed decisions and steer clear of the drawbacks of CPM.
Disadvantages of the Critical Path Method – Summary
- Involves Complexities
- Lacks Flexibility
- Includes Guesswork
- Lacks Versatility
- Insensitive to Resource Allocation
- Overlooks Non-Critical Tasks
- Unsuitable for Bulky Projects
- Time-Consuming Approach
- Project Management Institute – We’ve compiled a variety of free online resources, virtual events and even a sneak peek on Project Management
- Phoenix Project Manager – Phoenix Project Manager is a scheduling tool focused on projects and delivering them early.
- ProjectManager.com – A Simple Solution for Scheduling Work