Critical Path Method

CPM Scheduling Basics

CPM Scheduling Basics – Critical path method can be defined as an algorithm, which is used to organize project activities. With the help of the critical path method, we can recognize the longest stretch of activities and total time required to complete a project.

It helps understand information about which activities are critical for their effect and what is the best way to schedule all the activities to provide their service before the deadline at a minimum cost.

Construction of a building, installing and debugging computer system, missile countdown process, engineering and research design projects are few examples of projects where critical path method can be used.

A project must have certain key attributes for analysis with Critical Path Method:

  1. The project should contain a properly organized list of activities.
  2. Total time required and work efficiency should be determined properly.
  3. These activities must be arranged in proper order so that they can perform in a workflow sequence.

CPM Scheduling Basics – How does it work?

  • All the activities required for completion of the project should be listed with unique symbols. Activities may be arranged in technical orders i.e. no activity will appear on the list until all the previous activities have been executed.
  • After that, each activity is drawn on a graph as a circle with its unique symbol and the time taken by that activity inside that circle. For better results, all circles with zero predecessors are connected to “START”.On the other hand, all the circles with zero successors are connected to “FINISH.”
  • Then the graph will portray a different number of “arrow paths,” from Start to Finish. Adding the time required with all the activities on that path will give us the TAT to traverse each path. The longest path from start to finish is the critical path. It will show the least amount of time required to complete the entire project.
  • “Dummy jobs” are often used to the project graph, to show all the predecessor relations. The Kelly-Walker form method described the necessities and complexities of dummy jobs. The whole time required for the project can be reduced by finding the critical path.

Advantages of Critical Path Method

  • One of the basic advantages of the Critical path method is that it can determine different activities which can perform at the same time, i.e. understanding which tasks can be operated simultaneously.
  • It helps the project manager to identify the most critical activities of the project.
  • It helps to identify the path to reach the goal.
  • If applied properly, it can strengthen team perception as it is effective in new project management.
  • It provides information about dependencies which helps in organizing individual activities.
  • It provides fair and brief information about the project.
  • By implementing this method we can get a proper idea about slack time. Slack time is the period post completion of one task and the initiation of another as per process flow.
  • It gives an exact and clear approach to communicate project plans.

Disadvantages of Critical Path Method

  • Critical Path is only applicable to a process of workflow which is already stable and deployed successfully.
  • Drawing a Critical Path graph takes a lot of time and effort. Identification of critical path can be difficult in some projects.
  • It is difficult to recognize the total time required for the completion of an activity.

Critical Path Method helps identify the essential necessities  and dependencies of a project. It is a commonly used project management methodology for optimizing processes at the enterprise level.

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