How to do Critical Path Analysis

A Critical Path Analysis is used for complex project planning and control. It can be used to evaluate the present flow of activities or for your planning to decide on the best option of how to go forward.

When you map out a sequence of activities like this, you will be able to highlight many areas of potential improvements.

This method shows not only the start and finish times for activities bit also any slack time for a given activity.

This analysis type allows you to calculate the shortest possible completion time by using the latest timings and the slack times.

How to do a Critical Path Analysis.

Here's how the concept appears:

Critical Path Analysis

Similar to a Network Drawing you use

  • Circular nodes that represent events.
  • Arrows that show the direction of the flow and the dependencies between the activities.
  • Activities that are written along the arrowed lines between the nodes; also activity (x) which is the time required or that path.
  • N= Node number.
  • Es = Earliest Start time.
  • Ls = Latest Start time.
  • Loops are not permitted
  • The dates (latest possible and earliest expected) and these are written in the nodes.

This type of analysis and diagram type can be useful for 

  • Planning
  • Logistics
  • Decision making
  • Routing
  • and similar project plan of actions. 

It will take practice to develop a masterful approach to doing this type of diagram. As with the other tools I mention, take the time to learn the rules and then take a real life example to work one for yourself. 

› Critical Path Analysis