The Critical Path Method (CPM) is a way for project managers to determine which tasks are critical and which tasks can be delayed. Normally, you need specialize software such as MS Project, but not any more. Now you can download my CPM spreadsheet that implements the CPM algorithm. If you copy and paste, enter data into cells, and follow a few simple guidelines, you can do a critical path analysis with almost no curve.
Critical Path in project management
The CPM spreadsheet produces a Gantt Chart showing the critical path method tasks and the potential delay times for the flexible tasks. You may need to be familiar with some of the basic terms used in the CPM method. However the template is very easy to use and does not require you to enter formulas. Unlike other the gantt chart in the CPM spreadsheet is an actual bar chart object. You can resize it and change font sizes to display the way you want.
Limitations in CPM project management:
- 25 tasks.
- 6 predecessors per task.
- Critical tasks cannot be correctly identified until all tasks having a successor.
- Task IDs must be numeric numbers.
How to do Critical path analysis in project management
Critical Path Definition: The critical path is the string of dependent tasks that limit a project from being completed faster. In other words, unless you can reduce the duration of one or more tasks on the critical path, you can’t reduce the time your project will take.
There can be multiple parallel critical paths, and the critical path may change. If you are able to reduce the duration of one of the critical tasks.
This spreadsheet finds the critical path using the PERT algorithm. The PERT algorithm calculates the slack time or float time for each task. Slack or float time is the amount of time the task can be delayed without causing the overall project to take longer.
In addition to identifying critical tasks, calculating slack time can help you identify tasks that you can delay. For instance allowing a project manager to make decisions about where to allocate resources.