One of the exam subobjectives talks about the critical path, a topic we ' ve not yet covered. The critical path of a project is the series of consecutive activities that represent the longest series of dependent actions through the project. There are critical path questions on the test and in this chapter ' s review questions.

If the first step in a project, Task A, must be accomplished before Task B can occur, you 've defined the first step toward the critical path. If Task C can occur at the same time that Task A occurs, and it does not hinge on any predecessor occurring first, then Task C is not on the critical path. Figure 6.1 shows a sample critical path.

Task A, 10 days

TaiJi EL 5 days

Task C. S tfsp

Figure 6.1: An elementary critical path

In Figure 6.1, you can see that to move from Task A to Task B requires 10 days. Next, you use up 5 days in accomplishing Task B, but it has to be done before you can move on to Task C, which also requires 5 days. Therefore, the entire critical path takes 20 days. A is a predecessor to B, which is a predecessor to C.

Figure 6.2 shows that Task A is a predecessor to both Task B and Task C. Neither can go forward without the accomplishment of Task A. Likewise, Task B and Task C are both predecessors to Task D. To evaluate the critical path, you add up the duration that each path utilizes; the longest one is the critical path. In this case, A B D takes 20 days and A C D takes 22 days; thus, A C D represents the critical path for the project.

Figure 6.1: An elementary critical path

In Figure 6.1, you can see that to move from Task A to Task B requires 10 days. Next, you use up 5 days in accomplishing Task B, but it has to be done before you can move on to Task C, which also requires 5 days. Therefore, the entire critical path takes 20 days. A is a predecessor to B, which is a predecessor to C.

Figure 6.2 shows that Task A is a predecessor to both Task B and Task C. Neither can go forward without the accomplishment of Task A. Likewise, Task B and Task C are both predecessors to Task D. To evaluate the critical path, you add up the duration that each path utilizes; the longest one is the critical path. In this case, A B D takes 20 days and A C D takes 22 days; thus, A C D represents the critical path for the project.

Figure 6.2: An elementary critical path with an additional subtask

Ideally, you should identify risks associated with both the critical path activities and activities that are not on the critical path. What the exam subobjective is telling you is that it' s more crucial to your project ' s success to be prepared for critical-path risks. Once these risks are identified, you ' l l develop risk responsesâ€”those actions that you' l l take should a specific risk occur. A risk response is formally defined as a plan of action to increase opportunities or decrease threats. By developing a risk response, you' re proactively recognizing the possibility of something untoward occurring and then formulating a recovery strategy should that thing occur.

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