Monday, 28 December 2009

The critical path analysis

By: Ziham Zawawi Mazlan

The critical path analysis is a modeling tool which is used for analyzing the events in a project in order to produce management information. For example, the critical path analysis is mainly being used in management especially for factories and also being used as tool to reduce production cost. To complete the analysis, the project is modeling using a network diagram. The network diagram is about creating relationships between activities. The elements used on a network diagram are activities, dummies, events, and key events.

A network diagram will allow you to illustrate the dependencies or sequence between these activities. Relationships are also referred to as dependencies – the most basic is “finish to start”. Thus the basic question is which activities must be finished before which activities can start. Once your network diagram is ready, only then can you realistically start determining your project’s schedule. The use of an arrow (specifically in the notation used in this example) shows this relationship.

The information that you aid from this method will help you in making a variety of decisions. If the research or planning project is faced in the beginning with negative slack on the critical path because of some forced contractual obligation (such as a college requiring the completion of a thesis by a certain date in order to graduate), then you will know immediately that some changes will be required in order to meet the required schedule. You also will know where the most critical of these changes are needed. Available staff or resources from those events with surplus slack time might be shifted to more critical activities, new resources or staff assistance may be required to speed up certain activities, or you may need to decide to eliminate or greatly reduce certain activities.

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