CPM Full Form
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Critical path method (CPM), a step-by, project management technique that identifies critical and non-critical tasks for planning process. It is intended to prevent time-frame problems and avoid process bottlenecks. CPM is well-suited for complex projects that involve many activities.
- Identify the tasks required and create a sequenced (or ordered) list.
- Create a flowchart or other diagram showing each task in relation to the others.
- Identify critical and non-critical relationships between tasks.
- Each task should be completed or executed within the timeframe.
- For the most crucial paths, find or create backups.
The origins and use of CPM:
The CPM was created by DuPont in the 1950s. It was used for missile-defense construction projects. The CPM has been extended to other areas, including software product research and development and hardware. There are many computer programs that can be used to assist project managers in using the CPM.
Every project manager has their own best practices, management secrets, and tricks. They use intuition, experience, strong tools, and well-known techniques to improve their work processes and achieve better results.
We’ve recently discussed the most common methods for project management. Now it’s time to discuss the Critical Path Method in detail.
*the article was originally published on DZone
What does a critical path mean for project management? What does this actually mean? What does the special method mean?
Project management is a critical step
Project management requires that certain tasks are completed in a specific order and within a set time.
It is possible to delay or postpone a part of a task for a time without affecting other tasks. This task is not considered critical. Tasks with critical importance cannot be delayed or shortened during project implementation.
The Critical Path Method is an algorithm that helps to plan, manage and analyze the timing of projects. CPM helps identify and manage critical tasks and minimizes risks.
Critical tasks are subject to a minimum run-time reserve. The terms of the project will be “shifted” if the tasks are changed in duration. This is why project management has critical tasks that require careful control and prompt detection of risks.
CPM: What are the roots of the system?
One of the American companies invented the method in 1957. The employees were to shut down, repair and then restart chemical plants. This project had many and complicated tasks. That’s why Critical Path Method was needed. After that, Critical Path Method was quickly spread to agricultural and construction projects where people wanted to learn how to avoid routine tasks. This method of identifying critical tasks can be used in many industries today, including software development.
Six Benefits of Critical Path Analysis
To predict when a project will be completed, it is necessary to do a critical path analysis.
These are the 6 major benefits of CPM
- This method visualises projects in a clear, graphical format.
- It is the key to all of your most important tasks.
- This saves time and allows you to manage deadlines.
- It allows you to compare the actual status with the one planned.
- Identifies all crucial activities that require attention.
- Clear and transparent dependencies
What are the limits of Critical Path Method?
The methodology was designed to be used in routine and complex projects, with the potential for a minimal change in the time taken to complete tasks. CPM is less useful in chaotic projects.
Alternatives include PERT-diagrams which allow you to change the duration of any activity.
The critical path is a network that connects activities and events in a project. Activities are represented as “nodes”, and the beginning and ending of activities look like arches or lines between nodes.
CPM is an example.
Let’s take the simplest example: applying critical path technology for a project that has short deadlines. As , our goal is to create a parking lot in an area near the office. To do this, you will need to follow the following steps:
- Choose a location.
- Clear the area of trash.
- Paint for marking.
- Take the measurement of the pad to determine how many cars you need.
- All parking areas should be marked and painted.
- Install the gate
It is obvious that some stages of this project can’t begin until all are completed. They are dependent. Because they must be performed in a specific order, steps 4,5,6, and 6 are sequential actions. These are the critical steps to solving the problem. Because you can’t start any stage until all the others have been completed, you will mark them as critical.
This plan will help you determine the duration of each stage as well as the overall project.
- It takes 15 minutes to pick a place
- It took 90 minutes to clear the area
- It takes 30 minutes to purchase paint
- It takes 45 minutes to measure the area
- 60 minutes to mark
- It takes 60 minutes to install your gate
How do you create a critical path diagram
To get a complete picture of the project, as well as individual tasks, you can use graphs, sections and columns to create a graphic scheme.
It is easy to visualize dependencies and activities on paper. Special programs and tools are available for this purpose. Gantt charts are a great way to quickly calculate the critical path in Excel.
Critical Path Method: Key Stages
CPM consists of 6 steps consecutively:
Once you know the scope of your project, you can organize the work structure into the list or activities. Each activity in the project should have a date and a duration.
This is the most important step as it helps to establish dependencies and gives an idea of the connections between activities.
Once you’ve determined which actions are dependent on each other you can create a network diagram, or a path analysis map. You can connect activities using the arrows based on their dependencies.
You can estimate how long it will take to do each step. This will help you determine how long it will take to complete the project. Small projects can be completed in a few days, while larger ones will require more time.
- Locate a critical path.
The activity network can help you to create the longest sequence of steps on the path, or the most critical path.
- Early Start – The time before all other tasks have been completed.
- Early Finish – The earliest start time and the amount of time needed to complete the task.
- Late Finish – All activities are completed within the deadlines.
- Late Start – The last time the task is completed, minus the end time.
What does the limit of resources have to do with the method?
Careful resource management does matter. While we want to maximize the benefits from the critical path method, and ensure continuous development of projects’ projects, there are still limitations that could affect projects and create new dependencies. If the number of members in a team suddenly drops from 10 to 5, it is a sign that there are limited resources.
The critical path becomes a “critical pathway of resources”, where each activity’s resources become an integral part.
This can mean that certain tasks need to be done in a different order. If this happens, it can cause delays, and make the project take longer than anticipated.
Even though the critical path method is being criticized today, it is still popular with project managers.
- Prioritize tasks
- This provides a clear understanding about project time intervals. This will help to reduce the amount of time needed to complete the project.
- This allows you to see the progress made and the plans.
- Evaluate the risks.
- Assists team members in distribution.
- This helps the team remain focused on the important things.
CPM allows you to transfer less important tasks, and instead focus your efforts on optimizing the work.
What are your thoughts on the Critical Path Method? Did you apply it to any of your projects? If you have bright examples, please leave your comments.