# Analysing Critical Path Method For Projects

### Analysing Critical Path Method For Projects

The critical path method for projects is used to estimate the minimum project duration and determine the amount of schedule flexibility on the logical network path within the schedule model.

The schedule network analysis technique calculates the early start, early finish, late start and the late finish dates for all activities without regard for any resource limitations by performing a forward and backward pass analysis through the schedule network.

In the example given above, the longest path includes activities A, C and Dand therefore the sequence A-C-D is the critical path.

The critical path is the sequence of activities that represents the longest path through a project, which determines the shortest possible project duration. The longest path has the least total float-usually zero. The resulting early and late start and finish dates are not necessarily the project schedule, rather they indicate the time periods within which the activity could be executed, using the parameters entered in the schedule model for activity durations, logical relationships, leads, lags and other known constraints.

on any network path, the total float or schedule flexibility is measured by the amount of time that a schedule activity can be delayed or extended from its early start date without delaying the project finish date or violating a schedule constraint. A critical path is usually characterized by zero total floats on the critical path.

As implemented with the precedence diagramming method sequencing, critical paths may have positive, zero, or negative total float depending on the constraints applied.

Positive total float is caused when the backward pass is calculated from a schedule constraint that is later than the early finish dates that have been calculated during forwarding pass calculation.

Negative total float is caused when a constraint on the late dates is violated by duration and logic. Negative float analysis is a technique that helps to find possible accelerated ways of bringing a delayed schedule back on track.

Schedule networks may have multiple near-critical paths. Many software packages allow the user to define the parameters used to determine the critical path(s).

Adjustments to activity durations, logical relationships, leads and lags, or other schedule constraints may be necessary to produce network paths with a zero or positive total float.

Once the float and the free float have been calculated, the free float is the amount of time that a schedule activity can be delayed without delaying the early start date of any successor or violating a schedule constraint.

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