CPA / CPM (Critical path analysis / method) are an effective way to analyze complex projects. A project consists of set of activities. CPA represents the critical set of activities to complete a project. Critical path helps us to focus on essential activities which are critical to run the project. Once we identify the critical activities we can devote good resources and prioritize the same accordingly. CPA also gives us a very good basis for scheduling and monitoring for progress. One of the most important thing it does is allows the project manager to concentrate on important activities.
Critical Path is the path which takes the longest time. In the above example we have three paths (please refer AOA for computer institute or AON for computer institute in the previous questions) path1, path2 and path3. Let’s sum up the number of days allocated on those paths, so path1 = 19 days, path2 = 29 days and path3 = 9 days. Both figures also show the number of days required on the path.
So path2 is the longest path on the network diagram and also the most important path. In short path2 is the critical path and this method is termed as Critical Path Method /Analysis. Putting in other words the task on the critical path needs careful monitoring and any delays on the critical path will lead to delay of the project. You can easily visualize from the CPM diagram that we if we do not decide location, sign a lease, fix interior and paint we will not have the actual institute at place in given time span.
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