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Professional project management requires critical path analysis

By Bryce, 09.11.11 | Comments

Behind every successful project is a great project manager. And behind every great project manager is a toolkit that includes a programme through which he conducts a critical path analysis.

It’s one of the most important strings in his bow; geared to manage and track the sequence of events required to complete a complex project, according to a specific timeline. It will indicate the minimum amount of time required to complete a project and, if time is tight, it will highlight activities that can be accelerated to meet the deadline.

If not available in-house or on-site, critical path analysis is a skill that can be outsourced to a company that offers the service. It’s one way of ensuring a constant flow of data that can be used for assessing progress, managing time, and informing the decision-making process.

Critical path analysis is computer-generated through programmes like Microsoft Project and is an invaluable tool for various industries, including construction and engineering.

The thinking begins with the identification of all major activities requiring time and resources, which must be factored into the planning process. These activities need to be planned in a logical sequence, so that overlaps of time and pressure on resources can be highlighted immediately. Each activity is planned within an estimated timeframe so that when those overlaps occur, an efficient alternative can be determined in order to meet the required deadline.

Once the plan is in place, it must be monitored continuously to ensure that deadlines are being met and, if not, the plan must be adjusted accordingly.

One of the benefits of using this type of programme for critical path analysis is the visual aspect. Users can see at a glance how all the processes have been scheduled, timed, executed and completed. In addition, they will be able to identify which tasks can be pushed out if a resource needs to be reallocated in order to keep pace with the planned schedule.

More info: Professional project management techniques and advice