What is Critical Path Method?
The Critical Pathway Method (CPM) is a step-by-step method, technique, or algorithm for planning projects with multiple activities that involve complex, interdependent interactions. CPM is an important tool for project management as it identifies critical and non-critical tasks in order to avoid conflicts and bottlenecks. CPM is widely used when analyzing a project network logic diagram for maximum practical efficiency.
CPM is widely used in many different types of projects. This includes product development, engineering, construction, aerospace and defense, software development, and research projects. Several CPM software solutions are available.
The basic steps in CPM are:
Identify the tasks required
List the required tasks one by one
Create a flowchart of each required task
Identify all critical and non-critical relationships (paths) between the required tasks
Assign an expected completion / execution time for each required task
Study all critical relationships to identify all possible alternatives or backups for as many as possible
Often, an important goal of CPM is to get the project completed in the shortest possible time. One way to do this is by fast tracking, which involves running activities in parallel (simultaneously) and adding resources to shorten the duration of the critical path (called the critical path crash). This can lead to an expansion leading to increased project complexity, duration, or both.