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Walker of DuPont and James E. Any project with interdependent activities can apply this method of mathematical analysis. Although the original CPM program and approach is no longer used,  the term is generally applied to any approach used to analyze a project network logic diagram.
Components[ edit ] The essential technique for using CPM: A list of all activities required to complete the project typically categorized within a work breakdown structureThe time duration that each activity will take to complete, The dependencies between the activities and, Logical end points such as milestones or deliverable items.
Using these values, CPM calculates the longest path of planned activities to logical end points or to the end of the project, and the earliest and latest that each activity can start and finish without making the project longer.
This process determines which activities are "critical" i. In project management, a critical path is the sequence of project network activities which add up to the longest overall duration, regardless if that longest duration has float or not.
This determines the shortest time possible to complete the project. There can be 'total float' unused time within the critical path. For example, if a project is testing a solar panel and task 'B' requires 'sunrise', there could be a scheduling constraint on the testing activity so that it would not start until the scheduled time for sunrise.
This might insert dead time total float into the schedule on the activities on that path prior to the sunrise due to needing to wait for this event. This path, with the constraint-generated total float would actually make the path longer, with total float being part of the shortest possible duration for the overall project.
In other words, individual tasks on the critical path prior to the constraint might be able to be delayed without elongating the critical path; this is the 'total float' of that task.
However, the time added to the project duration by the constraint is actually critical path dragthe amount by which the project's duration is extended by each critical path activity and constraint.
An additional parallel path through the network with the total durations shorter than the critical path is called a sub-critical or non-critical path. Activities on sub-critical paths have no drag, as they are not extending the project's duration.
CPM analysis tools allow a user to select a logical end point in a project and quickly identify its longest series of dependent activities its longest path. These tools can display the critical path and near critical path activities if desired as a cascading waterfall that flows from the project's start or current status date to the selected logical end point.
Visualizing critical path schedule[ edit ] Although the activity-on-arrow diagram PERT Chart is still used in a few places, it has generally been superseded by the activity-on-node diagram, where each activity is shown as a box or node and the arrows represent the logical relationships going from predecessor to successor as shown here in the "Activity-on-node diagram".
Activity-on-node diagram showing critical path schedule, along with total float and critical path drag computations In this diagram, Activities A, B, C, D, and E comprise the critical or longest path, while Activities F, G, and H are off the critical path with floats of 15 days, 5 days, and 20 days respectively.
Whereas activities that are off the critical path have float and are therefore not delaying completion of the project, those on the critical path will usually have critical path drag, i.
The drag of a critical path activity can be computed using the following formula: If a critical path activity has nothing in parallel, its drag is equal to its duration.
Thus A and E have drags of 10 days and 20 days respectively.
If a critical path activity has another activity in parallel, its drag is equal to whichever is less: Thus since B and C are both parallel to F float of 15 and H float of 20B has a duration of 20 and drag of 15 equal to F's floatwhile C has a duration of only 5 days and thus drag of only 5. Activity D, with a duration of 10 days, is parallel to G float of 5 and H float of 20 and therefore its drag is equal to 5, the float of G.
These results, including the drag computations, allow managers to prioritize activities for the effective management of project completion, and to shorten the planned critical path of a project by pruning critical path activities, by "fast tracking" i. Critical path drag analysis has also been used to optimize schedules in processes outside of strict project-oriented contexts, such as to increase manufacturing throughput by using the technique and metrics to identify and alleviate delaying factors and thus reduce assembly lead time.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. April Learn how and when to remove this template message Originally, the critical path method considered only logical dependencies between terminal elements.
Since then, it has been expanded to allow for the inclusion of resources related to each activity, through processes called activity-based resource assignments and resource leveling.
A resource-leveled schedule may include delays due to resource bottlenecks i. A related concept is called the critical chainwhich attempts to protect activity and project durations from unforeseen delays due to resource constraints. Since project schedules change on a regular basis, CPM allows continuous monitoring of the schedule, which allows the project manager to track the critical activities, and alerts the project manager to the possibility that non-critical activities may be delayed beyond their total float, thus creating a new critical path and delaying project completion.
In addition, the method can easily incorporate the concepts of stochastic predictions, using the program evaluation and review technique PERT and event chain methodology. Currently, there are several software solutions available in industry that use the CPM method of scheduling; see list of project management software.
The method currently used by most project management software is based on a manual calculation approach developed by Fondahl of Stanford University.A Critical Analysis of the Business Strategy of Macy's Words Feb 6th, 21 Pages You should consider the inputs, transformation and output elements of .
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