Working with Multiple Critical Paths

By default, you have one path through your project that constitutes your critical path. That one critical path constitutes the series of tasks whose end date is closest to affecting the end date of the project. When the last task is completed, the project is completed.

However, you can display multiple critical paths if you like. Although they might finish earlier than the one "real" critical path, each critical path can show the different networks of tasks throughout your project; for example, for different phases or parallel efforts. To do this, fol low these steps:

1 Click Tools, Options and then click the Calculation tab.

2 Select the Calculate Multiple Critical Paths check box.

To create multiple critical paths, Microsoft Project changes the calculation of the critical path so that any task without a successor (that is, the last task in any series of linked tasks) becomes a critical task. The task's late finish date is set to be the same as its early finish date. This setting gives the task 0 slack, which in turn makes it a critical task. Any series of predecessors before this final task becomes a critical path, thereby providing mul tiple critical paths.

This calculation contrasts with that of a single critical path, in which a task without a suc cessor has its late finish date set to the project finish date. This gives the task slack and therefore makes it a noncritical task.

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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