Guide The Critical Path

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You will continue doing the same for each subsequent longest path until each activities float has been determined.

Critical Path Analysis (CPA)

If an activity is on two paths, it's float will be based on the longer path that it belongs to. Using the critical path diagram from the previous section, Activities 2, 3, and 4 are on the critical path so they have a float of zero. The next longest path is Activities 1, 3, and 4.


  • Critical Path: Basic Steps!
  • Step 1: Specify Each Activity.
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Since Activities 3 and 4 are also on the critical path, their float will remain as zero. For any remaining activities, in this case Activity 1, the float will be the duration of the critical path minus the duration of this path.

What is the critical path method?

So Activity 1 has a float of 2. The next longest path is Activities 2 and 5. Activity 2 is on the critical path so it will have a float of zero. Activity 5 has a float of 14 - 9, which is 5.

So as long as Activity 5 doesn't slip more than 5 days, it won't cause a delay to the project. The Critical Path Method includes a technique called the Forward Pass which is used to determine the earliest date an activity can start and the earliest date it can finish. These dates are valid as long as all prior activities in that path started on their earliest start date and didn't slip. Starting with the critical path, the Early Start ES of the first activity is one.

You then move to the next activity in the path, in this case Activity 3. If an activity has more than one predecessor, to calculate its ES you will use the activity with the latest EF.


  1. Critical path method CPM - Designing Buildings Wiki.
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  4. The Backward Pass is a Critical Path Method techique you can use to determine the latest date an activity can start and the latest date it can finish before it delays the project. You'll start once again with the critical path, but this time you'l begin from the last activity in the path.

    Beginner's Guide to Critical Path Method (CPM) | Smartsheet

    In our example, Activity 4 is the last activity on the critical path. Its LF is the same as its EF, which is To calculate the LS, subtract its duration from its LF and add one. You then move on to the next activity in the path. Its LF is determined by subtracting one from the previous activity's LS. In our example, the next Activity in the critical path is Activity 3. It's LS is calculated the same as before by subtracting its duration from the LF and adding one.

    The ABCs of the Critical Path Method

    You will continue in this manner moving along each path filling in LF and LS for activities that don't have it already filled in. The Critical Path Method is an important tool for managing your project's schedule. This extra time is called "float. For example, if the installation of insulation in task number eight is not properly supervised and is done in the wrong places first, it might make the installation of the electrical wiring task number five , take longer.

    You may be able to shorten the overall project timeline by compressing a task on the critical path.

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    For example, task number four, installing the plumbing, is on the critical path. Maximize your chances of completing your project on time by calculating the critical path and managing the tasks that make it up. Just remember that you can't put critical path project management on auto-pilot. You need to make sure that no other task slips to the point that it becomes a critical path task. The Balance Careers uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience.

    Use forward and backward pass to determine project duration and critical path