Identifying the critical path

Any delay on the critical path will delay the project.

The difference between the earliest date and the latest date for an event is known as the slack - it is a measure of how late an event may be without affecting the end date of the project. Any event with a slack of zero is critical in the sense that any delay in achieving that event will delay the completion date of the project as a whole. There will always be at least one path through the network joining those critical events - this path is known as the critical path (Figure 6.20).

Figure 6.20 The critical path.

The critical path is the longest path through the network.

Figure 6.20 The critical path.

The significance of the critical path is two-fold.

• In managing the project, we must pay particular attention to monitoring activities on the critical path so that the effects of any delay or resource unavailability are detected and corrected at the earliest opportunity.

• In planning the project, it is the critical path that we must shorten if we are to reduce the overall duration of the project.

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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