Critical Path Analysis

Knowledge Center

Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.

22 items • 59.597 visits



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.

Special Interest Group

Critical Path Analysis Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group
Special Interest Group (50 members)


Forum about Critical Path Analysis. Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

topic Advantages of Critical Path Analysis - Benefits
The main benefits of Critical Path Analysis are in my opinion: Reduce lost time between tasks, ensuring a smooth running of projects. By identifying projects that can be carried out simultaneous...
topic Sensitive and Insensitive Project Schedules
Critical Path Methodology plays a vital role in network sensitivity. The final CPA chart reveals the number of critical paths possible in a project. There can be one critical path or multiple critical...
topic Disadvantages of Critical Path Analysis - Drawbacks
In my view, the main drawbacks of Critical Path Analysis are: A very complex project drawing becomes unmanageable, however the introduction of ICT has reduced this problem. The network is only a...
topic How to Use Critical Path Analysis for Complex Projects
Critical Path Analysis (CPA) is a powerful tool that can help you to schedule and manage complex projects. How to Draw a Critical Path Analysis Chart? - Step 1. List all activities in the plan - ...
topic Critical Path Analysis for Strategic Planning
What merits would critical path analysis impose in planning and implementing a strategy?...
Comments1 comments
topic Critical Incident Point versus Critical Path Analysis?
What is the difference between the Critical Incident Point and Critical Path Analysis?...
Comments1 comments
🔥 Steps After Identifying the Critical Path in Project Management
After identification of the critical path, typically the following activities are carried out by the project manager/team: Drawing a network diagram of all activities and dependencies to achieve a...
topic Critical Path in Agile Projects
Recently critical paths are being identified and worked upon in agile projects. The main steps are: Form a network diagram of project initiation to delivery. Notice the dependencies of the activ...
Comments2 comments

Start a new topic

Start a new topic about Critical Path Analysis

Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about Critical Path Analysis. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Critical Path Analysis. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Critical Path Analysis. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.


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

CPP, Critical Path Analysis
Critical Path Practicals - These practicals provide hands on experience on some of the various critical path analysis re...

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...

Research Links

Jump to further research sources regarding Critical Path Analysis.













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

Special Interest Group

Special Interest Group

Do you know a lot about Critical Path Analysis? Become our SIG Leader and gain worldwide recognition as an expert.


Return to Management Hub: Change & Organization  |  Program & Project Management  |  Strategy & Innovation  |  Supply Chain & Quality

More on Management  |  Return to Management Dictionary


This ends our Critical Path Analysis summary and forum.

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
2023 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V16.3 - Last updated: 2-10-2023. All names of their owners.

12manage is looking for BA/MBA students. More info.