Chris Croft
Project Management

The 12 Steps to Successful Project Management


Define the Project

List the tasks

Estimate times and costs for each task

Find the critical path

Consider crashing or overlapping critical tasks

Draw Gantt (bar) chart

Calculate resource requirements over time

Assess risks, and prepare action plans

Monitor progress to the Gantt chart

Monitor cumulative cost

Communicate progress and changes

Review: learn and praise

About The Author

4. Find the critical path

  • Consider dependencies and draw the CPA network: and find the float of the non-critical tasks
  • Don’t try and do this in your head
  • Customers will either expect to see it, or be impressed by it
  • Activity on node (tasks in boxes with times on the boxes, often called CPM) is probably a better way to draw the network than activity on arrow (aka PERT) where the tasks and times go on the arrows and the arrows point to circular “events”:
  • You can put milestones or events on your CPM diagram if you wish
  • The critical path is the longest route through the diagram, and is the quickest you can do the entire project
  • If you have arrows crossing over there is an increased risk of missing the critical path
  • Tasks on the critical path need careful estimating, since they define the lead time of the project, and later they will need careful monitoring if the project is to remain on schedule
  • Non-critical tasks have float – you can choose whether to start them straight away or whether to do them later. Doing them straight away is safer, but doing them later may delay expenditure, and my enable you to have more information by the time you do the task. Considerations of float are best done using the Gantt chart – see later.