How to use the critical path in planning a new project

How to use the critical path in planning a new project

How to use the critical path in planning a new project

To understand the concept of a critical path, you need to understand the various terms used in this method. The critical path is the longest distance between the start and the finish of your project, including all the tasks, their duration, which gives you a clear picture of the project’s actual schedule.

Another term in the critical path method is earliest start date. This is simply the earliest date that a task can be started in your project. You cannot determine this without first knowing if any tasks are dependent on this one task, or figuring out other constraints that might impact the start of this task. Next is the earliest finish date. This being the earliest date your task can be completed.

Along those lines, you need to figure out what the latest start date is. This is the very last minute in which you can start a task before it threatens to upset your project schedule. And you need to calculate what the latest finish date is for the same reason. By having a clear picture of this timeframe, you can better schedule the project to meet its deadline.
Float, also known as slack, is a term that describes how long you can delay a task before it impacts the planned schedule and threatens the project’s deadline. When you are collecting tasks for the critical path, they must have zero floats. But if the tasks do have some float, then they go on the non-critical path, which means if this task is delayed the project can still finish on time.

Crash duration is a term that describes the shortest amount of time that a task can be scheduled. You can get there by moving around resources, adding more towards the end of the task, to decrease the time needed to complete the task. This often means a reduction in quality, but is based on a relationship between cost and time.
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References: project manager

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