Basic network principles

It is true to say that whenever a process requires a large number of separate but integrated operations, a critical path network can be used to advantage. This does not mean, of course, that other methods are not successful or that CPM is a substitute for these methods - indeed, in many cases network analysis can be used in conjunction with traditional techniques - but if correctly applied CPM will give a clearer picture of the complete programme than other systems evolved to date.

Every time we do anything, we string together, knowingly or unknowingly, a series of activities which make up the operation we are performing. Again, if we so desire, we can break down each individual activity into further components until we end up with the movement of an electron around a nucleus. Clearly, it is ludicrous to go to such a limit but we can call a halt to this successive breakdown at any stage to suit our requirements. The degree of the breakdown depends on the operation we are performing or intend to perform.

In the UK it was the construction industry which first realized the potential of network analysis and most of, if not all, the large construction, civil engineering and building firms now use CPM regularly for their larger contracts. However, a contract does not have to be large before CPM can be usefully employed. If any process can be split into twenty or more operations or 'activities', a network will show their interrelationship in a clear and logical manner so that it may be possible to plan and rearrange these interrelationships to produce either a shorter or a cheaper project, or both.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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