The critical path method (CPM) is a project modeling technique used to determine the completion date of a project.
CPM is a cornerstone of project planning. How long a project takes often depends on the most important tasks that constitute it. If you can map out these tasks and their duration, you can get a reasonable estimate of the project’s timeline and budget.
CPM is commonly used with all forms of projects, including construction, aerospace and defense, software development, research projects, product development, engineering and plant maintenance, among others.
Any project with interdependent activities can apply this method of mathematical analysis — a resource-utilization algorithm for scheduling a set of project activities.
The essential technique for using CPM is to construct a model of the project that includes the following:
- A list of all tasks required to complete the project
- The dependencies between the tasks
- The estimate of time (duration) that each activity will take to complete
With this information, you can determine what is known as the critical path. This involves identifying the longest stretch of dependent activities and measuring them from start to finish.
Once you’ve identified the longest activities (critical path) you can more easily discern which can be delayed without making the project longer.
Benefits of using CPM, include:
- It defines most important tasks
- CPM visualizes projects in a clear graphical form
- Saves time and helps in the management of deadlines
- Identifies all critical activities that need attention
- Helps to compare the planned with the real status
- Makes dependencies clear and transparent
Learn more about CPM with a CPM Training course by Tonex. This is hands-on training where participants are provided with the concepts, methods, and tools needed to create a CPM unique to their project.
Besides CPM Training, Tonex offers 15 other courses in Product and Project Management Training.
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