Identifying the critical path

Any delay on the critical path w ill 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 w ithout 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 dale of the project as a whole. There w ill 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 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 delected and corrected at the earliest opportunity.

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

Figure 6.20 The critical path.

The critical path is the longest path through the network.

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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