A Business Encyclopedia

Critical Path Method

Definition: The Critical Path Method or CPM is a network analysis technique concerned with planning and controlling of complex, but routine projects. Simply, Critical path method is generally used for the projects whose time duration is known with certainty and also the amount of resources required for the completion of the project is assumed to be known.

First of all, the activities comprised in a project are identified along with their importance, i.e. the dependency of activities on each other. For each activity, it is identified that which other activities are required to be completed before it starts and how long the activities takes to get finished.

Once the critical activities are identified, the network is drawn connecting all the crucial activities and depicting which activity to be carried first, so that successor activities could be performed effectively. For each activity the following parameters need to be determined:

  • Earliest start time (ES): How early, the successor activity begins once the predecessor activity finishes.
  • Earliest Finish Time (EF): Earliest Start Time + duration of each activity.
  • Latest Finish Time (LF): The latest time within which the activity finishes without delaying the project.
  • Latest Start Time (LS): Latest Finish Time – Activity duration

The critical path method follows the “activity-on-arc” diagram to illustrate a critical path of activities (as shown below). This diagram comprises of a numbered nodes that represent the stages required for the project completion while the arc shows the crucial activities as identified earlier.


The Critical Path method is deterministic in nature, since the required amount of resources and the time needed for the completion of the whole project is known, and is mainly used in the construction projects. This method was developed by Du Pont Company and the Univac Division of Remington Rand Corporation as a technique for controlling the maintenance of chemical plants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Related pages

duality in linear programmingdivesting definitionvestibule definegeocentric pricingautocratic defdefine aoaitemize definitionbrand resonance pyramidbrand resonance pyramidadams theory of inequitydeontological meaningcheque transaction systembureaucratic organizational structureansoff marketing strategycrr in bankingmeaning of liquidity ratiosmarginal utility curve definitionadams theory of inequitysamuelson multiplier accelerator modelfayol's principleswww income tax govt of indiabank drafts definitionwhat is laissez faire leadershipvoted expenditure definitionpsychoanalytical theoriesdefine inductedmonetised deficithow does job enrichment motivate employeespf employee contributionihrm approachesdefinition of inventory turnover ratioexplain the concept of market segmentationdefinition of hrpwhat is deontological ethical theoryfactors affecting consumer buying decisionliquidations definitiondefinition of flankpublicity definition in public relationsmotivation herzbergprofibility ratioexample of stratified sampling techniquemarginal rate of substitution economicsmarkup pricing strategywage determination economicsdemand elasticity meaningmeaning of deontologyfiedler contingency model of leadershipexamples of ordinal scaleemployee pf fundfund transfer neftchit fund definitiondeposit wikipediaexamples of collective bargaininghire purchase depreciationcomputerised definitionlong term bank loan advantages and disadvantageseconomic income definitiondefinition of laissez fairesimulation meaning in urduwhat is the meaning of mnc companythe equity theory of motivationautocratic leadership businesspearson coefficient correlation formulawhat is the definition of proprietorshipemployee provident fund contributionexamples of laissez-faire leadershipresonance marketing definitionadvantages and disadvantages of loan capitaldescribe the difference between convenience sampling and quota samplingwhat is the difference between implicit and explicit costhr demand forecasting