Critical Path

The term critical path is one of the most commonly used terms in project management but it is often misunderstood. The critical path represents the series of tasks which add up to the longest duration and ultimately determine the total time it will take to complete the project. In essence, the critical path indicates the shortest time possible to complete the project. Duration of the tasks that are not on the critical path can be relatively flexible without impacting completion date of the entire project. If any of the tasks on the critical path is delayed, then the entire project will certainly be delayed unless the project team can make up the time further down the critical path. The figure below depicts the concept of critical path where tasks E – F – G – H are on the critical path and consequently, the total minimum time required to finish the project is 8 days (2 + 4 + 1 + 1). Tasks A – B – C – D are not on the critical path and it will take the total of 6 days to complete them (2 + 1 + 2 + 1). If let’s say task B is delayed by 1 day there will be no impact on the project finish date.