Process - Top Tips - Critical path analysis
What is it?
A time planning technique for when a project has many activities happening at the same time or where one needs to be completed before another can start.
What’s it about?
Note all the tasks and activities in your project on separate post-it notes. Arrange these down a page in the order that they must be completed. Where two or more tasks can be completed at the same time, put these beside each other. Where completion dates are critical to any particular task, add these to the post-it. From this, calculate the start and end dates for each task, checking that these match where tasks are being completed at the same time. You may need to re-arrange some tasks to achieve this; when you are satisfied join these with arrows to show the sequence. Identify those tasks that if they slip will affect the final completion date, and highlight these as they are the critical path.
Review this as often as necessary, and identify any areas where slippage has occurred that will affect the completion dates of other tasks.
What else might I need to know?
You may also see this diagram produced running across the page, which appeals to our instinct to read left to right. See also Gantt charts for an alternative technique to use.