One of the pillars of successful project management is the notion of critical path. To understand what this is, you need to ask yourself: 'What ultimately determines the duration of my project?'
The answer is: the critical path.
The critical path is a series of activities that set the definite end date of the project. The date is definite because the activities (called critical activities) have no slack. Having no slack is the definitive feature of a critical activity. As a result, you will want to pay special attention to critical activities as delaying even one of them may have an adverse 'domino effect' for the whole project.
Easy Projects calculates the critical path as follows:
- An activity with the latest end date is located.
- Moving backwards, a chain that includes all dependent activities and parent ones is built starting from the latest end date activity
Where can critical path/critical activities be viewed in Easy Projects?
The sections where critical activities or a critical path can be viewed are:
|Gantt charts||Critical path/critical activities||Critical path is visible as a group of activities colored red|
|Activity Center||1. A symbol to indicate that an activity is on critical path||Orange arrow ()|
|2. Critical path activities shown in the Gantt section||Available when the 'Show critical path' checkbox is selected in the Gantt section|
When Gantt view is turned on in Activity Center, critical path activities are shown using the 'Show critical path' checkbox. Non-critical activities do not disappear but are grayed out.
How do you shorten the critical path?
If you want to bring in the project end date, you need to bring in the dates of your critical path activities. To do this, you can:
- Shorten the duration or work on an activity on the critical path,
- Break a critical task into smaller activities that can be worked on simultaneously by different resources,
- Set lead time between dependent activities where applicable,
- Revise activity dependencies to allow more scheduling flexibility,
- Schedule overtime, or
- Assign additional resources to work on critical path activities.