Critical Path Analysis

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What is Critical Path Analysis? Meaning.

Critical Path Analysis (CPA) is a type of network analysis planning technique that is used to plan and manage complicated projects or business processes.

CPA is a form of network analysis used to decide the continuous chain of operations critical to completion of a project or business process by its scheduled completion date.

It was developed in the 1950s to manage large defense projects.


Applications of Critical Path Analysis

  • Lay out all tasks that have to be completed as part of a complex project
  • Basis for preparation of detailed schedules and resource planning
  • Monitor the progress of goals
  • Signal the need for remedial action in case of problems in the project. CPA shows diagrammatically the interrelations in sequence of all the activities in a project / business process in such a way as to highlight, which are critical for the due performance of the overall work.

Critical Path Analysis versus Gantt Charts

Advantages of CPA over Gantt Charts:

  • CPA identifies tasks, which have to be completed on time
  • CPA identifies tasks, which can be delayed without effecting the project completion time
  • CPA identifies the minimum time required to finish a project
  • CPA identifies which tasks one needs to focus on to speed op a project.

Disadvantages of CPA compared to Gantt Charts:

  • CPA charts has no timeline, so the relation of tasks to time is less obvious.

  • CPA charts are more difficult to understand (especially for beginners)

How to Perform a Critical Path Analysis. Drawing a CPA Chart

  1. List all activities in a project / process

  2. Determine the earliest start date

  3. Determine the required time for each task

  4. Determine which tasks can be run in parallel and which ones are sequential.

  5. Plot the activities in a CPA Chart, representing their logical relations by symbols.

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Critical Path Analysis Special Interest Group.

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Advantages of Critical Path Analysis - Benefits
The main benefits of Critical Path Analysis are in my opinion:
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Disadvantages of Critical Path Analysis - Drawbacks
In my view, the main drawbacks of Critical Path Analysis are:
A very complex project drawing becomes unmanageabl (...)
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Critical Path Analysis (CPA) is a powerful tool that can help you to schedule and manage complex projects.

Ho (...)
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What merits would critical path analysis impose in planning and implementing a strategy? (...)
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Critical Path in Agile Projects
Recently critical paths are being identified and worked upon in agile projects. The main steps are:
Form a netwo (...)

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How to Perform a Critical Path Analysis and Draw a CPA CHART? Practical Guide

Critical Path Analysis, CPA, Critical Path Chart
This CPA Practical Guide provides a step by step guidance to create and use CPA. It has an example which is very helpfu (...)

Critical Path Analysis / Method In-depth

Project Planning, Project Management, Project Monitoring
Extensive presentation about the Critical Path Analysis (CPA), also called the Critical Path Method (CPM). The following (...)

Comprehensive Summary of Critical Path Analysis with Examples

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Critical Path Practicals - These practicals provide hands on experience on some of the various critical path analysis re (...)

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Compare also: Gantt Chart  |  Business Process Modeling  |  Milestone  |  PRINCE2  |  OPM3  |  MSP  |  PMMM

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