CPM Critical Path Method is a technique that is being widely used by project managers in project planning. A typical project, whether it is manufacturing, software or any project, has many tasks and activities involving a lot of people. So, it is really difficult to keep track of things.
Most of the times, project manager becomes more responsible for handling all factors associated with a project. As there are endless jobs and a large of number of people involved in most of the projects, it is easy to get for at least a few tasks to fall behind and hence affect the project adversely. A project that is not finished in time always cost money and result in unhappy customers. It is found that projects that are scheduled using Critical Path Method run smoother because of effective scheduling.
How CPM Critical Path Method Helps Project Managers
Critical Path Method helps project managers identify two important things: critical tasks that need to be completed before starting other dependent tasks and also the total time required to complete the whole project.
All projects have critical paths. There are a number of tasks that need to started and finished on time for the entire project to be completed on time. Other tasks might be slightly flexible in terms of schedule where as critical tasks are not. Critical Path Method represents the project activities graphically.
The entire project is broken down into smaller activities making the whole project easier to understand. Having a diagram of smaller activities, project manager can visualize the important tasks of a project easily and effectively.
The diagram makes it easier to calculate the time each activity will take. It is very important in predicting the timescale of different activities and of the project as a whole. Most of the times, the client needs to be informed of the total time required for the project or the time required for different milestones.
Though the estimated time might vary during the project, it is easier to predicate the time required for different activities in a logical manner using CPM. Considering these values, the project manager can identify how each section is important to the progress of the rest of the plan. The manager can assign the right team for different activities and also set actual start data and end date for each individual or team.
Altogether, the project manager along with the entire team can schedule the work accurately and effectively with the help of CPM.
By identifying critical tasks, project manager can understand where to focus their efforts. He can identify tasks that can be run in parallel without any problem and also tasks that are dependent upon each other making it easier to decide the impact of problems.
The project can also determine whether any lag time exists on different activities and thus allow some flexibility in scheduling. The project manager can also take measures to prevent risks involved in the project by identifying critical activities. Having a clear schedule, the project manager can easily compare their performance to the overall schedule. In short, project managers can enjoy many benefits by using CPM which in turn causes the project to complete successfully.