The Critical Path in Gantt charts, or who’s to blame
Before talking about a critical path method, also known as a weak link method, I want you to answer two simple questions:
- At what point will a chain break if you strongly pull it?
- If a group goes camping, by which member you can determine the speed of the entire group?
The right answer on the first question: Your chain will break at its weakest link.
The right answer on the second question: The speed of the entire group is determined by the speed of the slowest member.
Any process, from simple actions to project management, consists of the particular sequence of steps (links). There are steps, which you can complete successfully, or you can find some steps extremely hard to finish in time. These steps are your weak links.
If you want to speed up or improve your project process, you do not have to improve the steps you are successful in. First, you should pay attention to the steps with which you have problems. Avoid focusing on the entire process; it may lead you to wrong decisions. Instead, determine the weakest sequence of steps and the weakest links to improve them only.
Now it is high time to return to the critical path. The critical path is a sequence of steps, which determines your project duration. Any task, which lays on the critical path, is called a critical task. If one of the critical tasks is late by one day, the entire project estimate will be extended by one day. Consequently, a task, which lays on the critical path, has the highest priority.
Now we would suggest you refer to your current project schedule and try to examine the Gantt chart. Identify your weakest links to improve them and finish your project in time!