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How can I force an activity onto my


projects Critical Path?
NOVEMBER 25, 2013 BY MICHAEL LEPAGE 5 COMMENTS

Last week, I taught a Primavera P6


training course to some great folks in
frosty Fort McMurray.
As often happens, an interesting
question came up about Critical Path.
And this is not the first time this question
has been put to me. But this time, I
thought I would write about it.

How do I put an
activity on my projects
Critical Path in Primavera P6?
So heres the situation. A project schedule has been built and scheduled in Primavera
P6. But for some reason, the planner is unsatisfied that Activity Z is not on the Critical
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Path. So, dear expert, how can I put it on the Critical Path?

Feedback

WHY should an Activity be on the Critical Path?


To really answer the question of How to alter a projects Critical Path, we need to first
ask Why?What is the end-goal?
Here are a few common responses I hear from planners:

1) The activity is Critical to success of the


project it should be on the projects Critical
Path.
As Murray Woolf points out in his though-provoking article When is the Critical Path
Not the Most Critical Path, there are 22 distinct definitions for the term Critical
Path according to google results.
Which means that your definition of Critical Path may not be the same one used by
your client or even your boss. Trouble!
Sometimes we want to highlight an activity for its importance to the successful
completion of a milestone or the project itself. However, adjusting a projects logic just
to ensure that an activity shows as red on the Gantt chart is not the right approach.
Project logic is meant to plan the order of execution of activities. The order is declared
in the planning process.
We should not alter a projects Critical Path just to highlight activities as important
Use Activity Codes or UDFs to define and track the important activities.
If you want to go deeper on this matter, then read Murrays article. In it, he suggests
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a paradigm shift in how we define the Criticality of an Activity and what project
activities are most Critical.

2) I think/suspect Activity Z should be on the


projects critical path.
Review your projects existing logic, and assess whether that is true or not. Does
Activity Z fit into the proper sequence of activities on the projects Critical Path?
If the activity was incorrectly linked, or circumstances have changed the order of
execution, then adjust Activity Zs logic accordingly to put it on the Critical Path.
ALWAYS make a backup before you alter your projects logic. But also think about the
impacts of these kinds of changes.

What are the Impacts of adding an Activity to


the Critical Path?
Change logic can alter the Critical Path downstream, so compare your projects old
Critical Path to the new one.
Document all changes in a Notebook Topic or somewhere similar.
Ask any of the Forensic Scheduling experts on LinkedIn and theyll tell you that
adjusting the projects logic during the execution of a project without justification and
agreement from your client can lead to a lawsuit. So better play it safe and do the
right thing.

What do you think?


What are your thoughts or questions about Critical Path changes? Drop us a
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comment below.

Filed Under: Project Management, Scheduling, Tutorials

Tagged With: CPM scheduling

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About Michael Lepage


I help people from all over the world learn planning, scheduling and
everything about Oracle Primavera P6. I've spent many years teaching
classroom courses and consulting on Primavera P6...and for some of the heaviest
users around. Two things I enjoy most are teaching and technology...and the odd
strum of my guitar...ok that was 3 things.

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Comments
Mehdi Farahani says
November 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm
Here is another distinct (which is 23) definition for the term Critical Path, that
manager or stakeholders do/does not know meaning of CP and they Insist to add
task/s in CP which is not critical at all.
Reply

Michael Lepage says


November 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm
Happens a lot, I know!
Reply

Anil Varghese says


November 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm
Your Comments
Hi Michael,
Thank you for your good lessons.
I would like to know following in primavera
In the P6 schedule by customizing the column we can view the budged labor units
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for all the activities. Now I want to revise the schedule with new budgeted labor
units .Each WBS Higher level I have new weighting with respect to budgeted labor
units.I want to spread these units to down line to each activity wise.
How can I quickly edit the revised budgeted labor units for a 1000 line schedule.Is it
possible export to excel and revise? or some other way ?.Expecting your guidance
please.
Reply

Michael Lepage says


December 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm
Anil, I would export to Excel, revise and re-import. Check out our excel tutorials for
help.
Reply

doug galt says


June 21, 2014 at 8:17 pm
Could you forward your tutorials expecially about labour units and how to update
existing activities that have resource labour units already assigned.
Reply

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