All you need to know about Critical Path Method – Definition, Steps, FAQs

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What is the Critical Path Method? 

Critical Path Method is a technique commonly used by product managers and project managers to estimate the time a particular project will take and to ensure that the concerned task is delivered on time. 

Most often, the Critical Path of any project is measured by calculating the time that will be utilized between the starting and the ending point. It takes into account all the subtasks (if any) and their duration. Such a prediction provides clarity of what and when things need to be done. Following are the few key terms that are helpful to understand Critical Path Method better: 

  • The earliest start date refers to the earliest time at which a given task can begin considering all the other subsidiaries. 
  • The latest start date is the opposite of the earliest start date which refers to the maximum limit of when a particular task can start. It is accompanied by the latest finish date. 
  • The slack/float refers to the buffer period or delay that can be excused without actually affecting the delivery of the project. 
  • The crash duration refers to the quickest duration within which a task can be completed by allotting extra resources. 

What are the steps to apply the Critical Path?

Critical Path of any given project can be minted out by following the steps specified below:

  1. Firstly, make sure there is a list created for all the tasks of the concerned project. 
  2. Secondly, link all the tasks with the dependencies between them. 
  3. Thirdly, it is essential to prioritize the tasks according to their importance.
  4. Fourthly, the time required for each task needs to be calculated. 
  5. Lastly, make sure you have a plan B ready when things don’t go according to your main plan A.

FAQs

Q: What is the Critical Path Method? 

A: Critical Path Method is a technique commonly used by product managers and project managers to estimate the time a particular project will take and to ensure that the concerned task is delivered on time. 

Q: Why is the Critical Path Method important? 

A: Critical Path Method estimates the time a particular project will take and ensures that the concerned task is delivered on time. It provides clarity over what and when one needs to work on the projects. Moreover, it can also help to accommodate and adjust any delays or unexpected circumstances during the work process. 

Q: How to apply the Critical Path Method?

A: There are five steps. Firstly, make sure there is a list created for all the tasks of the concerned project. Secondly, link all the tasks with the dependencies between them. Thirdly, it is essential to prioritize the tasks according to their importance. Fourthly, the time required for each task needs to be calculated. Lastly, make sure you have a plan B ready when things don’t go according to your main plan A.

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