Critical Path Analysis

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Description of Critical Path Analysis. Explanation.


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Definition Critical Path Analysis. Description.

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.

Critical Path Analysis Forum
  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:
  1. Drawing a network diagram of all activities and dependencies to achieve a big picture of the entire project.
  Critical Path in Agile Projects
Recently critical paths are being identified and worked upon in agile projects. The main steps are:
  1. Form a network diagram of project initiation to delivery.
  2. Notice the dependencies of the activities in the project.
  3. ...
  Disadvantages of Critical Path Analysis - Drawbacks
In my view, the main drawbacks of Critical Path Analysis are:
  1. A very complex project drawing becomes unmanageable, however the introduction of ICT has reduced this problem.
  2. The network is only as effective as the staff’s co...
  Advantages of Critical Path Analysis - Benefits
The main benefits of Critical Path Analysis are in my opinion:
  1. Reduce lost time between tasks, ensuring a smooth running of projects.
  2. By identifying projects that can be carried out simultaneously it should reduce the overa...
  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
- Step 2. Plot the activities as a c...
  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 paths in a project.
A project schedule is de...
  Critical Path Analysis for Strategic Planning
What merits would critical path analysis impose in planning and implementing a strategy?...
  Critical Incident Point versus Critical Path Analysis?
What is the difference between the Critical Incident Point and Critical Path Analysis?...

Critical Path Analysis Special Interest Group

Special Interest Group


Best Practices - Critical Path Analysis Premium

Expert Tips - Critical Path Analysis Premium

Resources - Critical Path Analysis Premium

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

This CPA Practical Guide provides a step by step guidance to create and use CPA.
It has an example which is very helpful in generating and utiliz...
Usage (application): Critical Path Analysis, CPA, Critical Path Chart

Critical Path Analysis / Method In-depth

Extensive presentation about the Critical Path Analysis (CPA), also called the Critical Path Method (CPM). The following sections are included in the ...
Usage (application): Project Planning, Project Management, Project Monitoring

Comprehensive Summary of Critical Path Analysis with Examples

Critical Path Practicals - These practicals provide hands on experience on some of the various critical path analysis real life scenarios and how to u...
Usage (application): CPP, Critical Path Analysis


Critical Path Analysis


Critical Path Analysis


Critical Path Analysis


Critical Path Analysis

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

Special Interest Group Leader
Syed Arifulla MBA, PMP, Prince2
Project Manager


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