Critical path

Some activities have zero total float, i.e. no leeway is permissible for their execution, hence any delays incurred on the activities will be reflected in the overall project duration. These activities are therefore called critical activities, and every network has a chain of such critical activities running from the beginning event of the first activity to the end event of the last activity, without a break. This chain is called the critical path.

Frequently a project network has more than one critical path, i.e. two or more chains of activities all have to be carried out within the stipulated duration to avoid a delay to the completion date. In addition, a number of activity chains may have only one or two units of float, so that, for all intents and purposes, they are also critical. It can be seen, therefore, that it is important to keep an eye on all activity chains which are either critical or near-critical, since a small change in duration of one chain could quickly alter the priorities of another.

One disadvantage of the arithmetical method of analysis using the table or matrix shown in Table 21.1 is that all the floats must be calculated before the critical path can be ascertained. This drawback is eliminated when the method of analysis described in Chapter 24 is employed.

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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