What Is the Critical Path Method in Project Management?

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Building a project roadmap can allow you to visualize what needs to be done to reach your ultimate goal. It is really helpful in dealing with complex projects. The critical path method enables you to do that. It is a project management technique that involves mapping out the main or critical tasks required to complete the entire project.

Running successful projects is a fundamental skill. Identifying and prioritizing the critical elements of any project while taking care of clients’ requests and demands is a great skill. There are several methods of managing projects effectively, and one is the Critical Path Method.

The Critical Path Method in Project Management is really important. This article will delve deeper into the Critical Path Method area.

What is the ‘Critical Path’ method in Project Management?

The Critical Path in project management is a widely used a popular method to plan and control the work effectively. It helps determine the most important and crucial aspects of any project and helps measure the non-critical activities. It helps to know the dependent tasks and project activities along with the sequence of tasks or sequence of activities as per the project schedule. The project timelines are formed using critical path analysis. 

The critical path method is defined as the proper sequence of scheduled activities to estimate the duration of a project. This method helps streamline the project process and tells the timeline for the completion of the project.

When was the ‘Critical Path’ method developed?

The ‘Critical Path’ method was developed in the early 1950s in the United States. The major focus was on project finance management, reducing task completion times. This method was first applied at the industry level to check project product development, construction, engineering, and other aspects. Afterward, it was implemented at lower levels of teams, departments, companies, etc.

How to understand the ‘Critical Path’ method?

Suppose you have to prepare an egg sandwich. To make an egg sandwich, you need to follow this process:

  • Take two pieces of bread and lay them on a plate.
  • Put egg slices on one side of the bread.
  • Put the second bread on top of the first one.

This is how you can prepare a simple egg sandwich. All the steps mentioned above are critical for preparing a sandwich. The non-critical steps include adding ketchup, mustard paste, lettuce, or any toppings.

If you would not add the eggs to it, it cant be labeled as an ‘Egg Sandwich. Therefore, a few crucial steps in each project need to be taken for proper processing.

What does it include?

It is a major question that arises in everyone’s mind what does the “critical path’ method include? Well. Here is the answer to your question. The CPM includes

  • Identification of all minor and major tasks for project completion.
  • Identification of all dependents for task completion.
  • Calculating task duration and dependencies for critical activities.
  • Setting milestones and deliverables.
  • The earliest start time of the project.
  • The earliest finish time of the project. 
  • Dependencies between tasks. 
  • Setting project manager expectations and delivery time.
  • Project deadlines.  
  • Resource allocation.
  • Individual tasks and dependent activities. 
  • Overall project duration and extra time if needed. 
  • The activity duration 

After finalizing these points, these points are prioritized as per the project needs.

What are the benefits of using Critical Path in projects?

The key benefits of using CPM are as follows:

  • Better Communication

CPM requires the people involved in a project to interact with each other. It brings up different people’s expertise and encourages them to help to their best capacity in project work.

  • Prioritization of Tasks

This method is really helpful in prioritizing and determining the importance and value of each task. The non-critical tasks can be put on the float, which means they can be delayed for some time. Different from the critical tasks can’t be put on the float.

  • Accuracy

CPM helps improve the accuracy of the projects. It gives an accurate estimate regarding the deadlines and project completion.

  • Risk Detection

The critical tasks are separated from the non-critical tasks, so it becomes easy to detect any risks which can come in the way of project completion. CPM prevents sudden surprises and shocks and shows the accurate variables to take further action.

  • Visual Impact

CPM takes the help of diagrams and Gantt charts to represent all aspects of the project. It helps in better understanding and visualization of the end product too.


Project management is tricky and complicated work, but with the help of the ‘Critical Path’ method, one can easily track the project elements and complete the project in time. 

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