What is the Critical Path

is known as the critical path method used in administrative processes to calculate the time it will take to develop a project. This method is also known as CPM by name in English Critical Path Method.

The main objective of the critical path method is calculate the shortest and most efficient time to carry out a project.

The critical path method was created by the firms Dupont and Remington Rand in the year 1957, in the United States, in order to find the best mechanism to yield the time and costs of their projects.

With this method, it is possible to determine through a diagram how long the planning, organization and control of the activities will take, as well as the elements to be used and the costs involved in the development of a specific project.

The critical path method or CPM can be applied in various activities such as academic, administrative, economic or social planning, among others.

Now, this method implies the elaboration of an algorithm to establish the activities to be executed, the relationship of the elements and the time to dedicate to the project. If in the worst case one of these activities is delayed, the entire critical path will be affected.

Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to determine what the priorities of the project are in order to know how to act in the event of a setback. Likewise, the critical path method allows us to evaluate and make the best decisions.

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Elaboration of a Critical Path

The critical path is drawn up once the project to be developed is clear and defined. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Identify the activities to be carried out in the project.
  • Determine the order of importance of the activities and the time that each of them will take.
  • Make a network diagram in which the different elements identified in the previous step are connected. In this step, the completion time that each activity will take and the available slack time will be taken into account.
  • Then, identify which is the longest activity of the project and with which the critical path will be determined.
  • Once the diagram is prepared, the work schedule is designed with which the project is planned, supervised and controlled.

See also Method and Objective.