The critical path identifies those activities which are critical to the end date of the project; however, activities that are not on the critical path may become critical. As the project proceeds, activities will invariably use up some of their float and this will require a periodic recalculation of the network. As soon as the activities along a particular path use up their total float then that path will become a critical path and a number of hitherto non-critical activities will suddenly become critical.
It is therefore common practice to identify 'near-critical' paths - those whose lengths are within, say, 10-20% of the duration of the critical path or those with a total float of less than, say, 10% of the project's uncompleted duration.
The importance of identifying critical and near-critical activities is that it is they that are most likely to be the cause of delays in completing the project. We shall see, in the next three chapters, that identifying these activities is an important step in risk analysis, resource allocation and project monitoring.
For a more in-depth discussion of the role of the critical path in project monitoring, see Chapter 9.
Was this article helpful?
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.