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Assignment on CPM(Critical path method)


Project management

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3rd semester


First of all , I would like to say ALHAMDULILLAH, for giving me

the strength and health to do this project work until it do not for
gotten to my family for providing every thing, such as many, to buy
any thing that are related to this project work and their advise,
which is the most needed for this project. Internet, Books, Computer
and all that as my source to complete this project. They also
supported me and encouraged me to complete this task so that I will
not put off in doing it.

1 Acknowledgment
2 introduction
3 History
4 Definition of term
5 Use critical path
6 Benefit
7 Limitation of CPM
8 Advantages of CPM
9 Disadvantages
10 Conclusion


The Critical Path Method or Critical Path Analysis, is a mathematically based algorithm
for scheduling a set of project activities.It is an important tool for effective project
management. Commonly used with all forms of projects, including construction,
software development, research projects, product development, engineering, and
plant maintenance, among others Any project with interdependent activities can
apply this method of scheduling The essential technique for using CPM is to construct.

A model of the project that includes the following:A list of all activities required to
complete the project(also known as Work Breakdown Structure).The time (duration)
that each activity will take to Completion.The dependencies between the activities.

Critical Path Method basically is a technique that separates

planning and scheduling. It also clarifies the inter-relationship
between time and cost.
CPM evaluates all the possible alternative plans for a
project and associates each plan with a schedule. It is a
technique for finding the ordered sequence of all the activities
forming a project so that the project is completed in the
shortest possible time coincident with the lowest cost.
Each of the possible plans is established by listing every
activity related to the project. Then their inter-relationship is
established in step-by-step order by drawing an arrow diagram
to show what must precede each activity.
Failure to show these relationships is one of the
weakness of the standard BAR CHARTS they do not clarify
this dependency of the activities upon one another, and how
any one of them affect the project as a whole.
A. History

In the mid-1950s, researchers became increasingly

interested in efficiency regarding scheduling problems
associated with large projects. One study was conducted in
Great Britain by the Operational Research Section of the
Central Electricity Generating Board. The board examined
problems associated with refurbishing a generating plant, a
very complex project. By 1957 it had come up with a
technique that identified the "longest irreductable sequence of
events" (later renamed "major sequence" of events). This

technique was used in an experimental overhaul of a power

plant; in the end, it reduced the time spent to complete the
overhaul to 42 percent of the average time required to
complete such projects. At the time, officials involved pointed
out that, while delays in this major sequence would delay the
project's completion, delays in other activities would not
necessarily have an impact on the completion time.

Meanwhile, similar work was underway in the United

States. In 1958 the U.S. Navy established a team to formulate
a way to plan and control complicated projects. The
investigation was referred to as the Program Evaluation
Research Task, code-named PERT. By February of that year,
Dr. C.E. Clark, a mathematician on the PERT investigation
team, introduced the first arrow diagrams. Later known as the
Program Evaluation and Review Technique, PERT was
applied to the Fleet Ballistic Missile Program in October
1958. Not only was this endeavor a massive project to
oversee, with 3,000 contractors, vendors, and other parties
involved, it was also strategically significant to complete it as
quickly and efficiently as possible. PERT proved to be a
successful management tool and was credited with taking two
years off the estimated time to develop the Polaris missile.

Simultaneously, similar work was being undertaken in

the private sector. For example, the E.I. du Pont de Nemours
& Co. devised a technique, known as CPM, to control its large
projects. The technique saved the company $1 million in the
first year of its implementation. By 1959, Dr. Mauchly of the
Du Pont effort established an organization to solve industrial

problems using CPM. Since that time, a great deal of work has
been completed to improve upon all of these related
techniques, much of it by people in the computer industry.

B. Definition of Terms

Activities steps in the project that consumes resources

and/or time.
Critical activities- activities on the critical path
Critical path- the longest route in the network of activities
representing a project
Dummy Activity- is an arrow on a network showing the
dependent relationships between two activities
Duration of an Activity- is the time it takes an activity to be
Events the starting and finishing of activities, designated by
nodes in the AOA convention.
Earliest Event- is the earliest time occurrence of an event
sometimes called Earliest Event Time or Early Event Time.
Earliest Start- of an activity cannot be earlier than the earliest
event time of the event.
Early Start- is not necessarily the point in time that the
activity will be over but it is the earliest time that it can occur
Float is used by CPM which is equivalent to Slack of PERT
system. It is the word used for those activities which do not
fall on the critical path

Network (precedence) diagram diagram of project

activities that shows sequential relationships by the use of
arrows and nodes

Path- sequence of activities that leads from the starting node

to the finishing node
Scheduling is defined as the process of translating the arrow
diagram into time table of calendar days

In 1957, DuPont developed a project management method

designed to address the challenge of shutting down chemical
plants for maintenance and then restarting the plants once the
maintenance had been completed. Given the complexity of the
process, they developed the Critical Path Method (CPM) for
managing such projects.

CPM models the activities and events of a project as a network.

Activities are depicted as nodes on the network and events that
signify the beginning or ending of activities are depicted as arcs
or lines between the nodes. The following is an example of a
CPM network diagram:

CPM Diagram

3.1 Steps in CPM Project Planning

1. Specify the individual activities.

2. Determine the sequence of those activities.
3. Draw a network diagram.
4. Estimate the completion time for each activity.
5. Identify the critical path (longest path through the
6. Update the CPM diagram as the project progresses.

Calculate the earliest start time, earlier finish time, latest start
time & latest finish time.

Determine the total float for each activity on the basis of

difference between the earliest time & latest time.

Calculate the total duration of project.

Optimize the cost by shifting resources.

1. Specify the Individual Activities

From the work breakdown structure, a listing can be made of all

the activities in the project. This listing can be used as the basis
for adding sequence and duration information in later steps.

2. Determine the Sequence of the Activities

Some activities are dependent on the completion of others. A

listing of the immediate predecessors of each activity is useful
for constructing the CPM network diagram.

3. Draw the Network Diagram

Once the activities and their sequencing have been defined, the
CPM diagram can be drawn. CPM originally was developed as
an activity on node (AON) network, but some project planners
prefer to specify the activities on the arcs.

4. Estimate Activity Completion Time

The time required to complete each activity can be estimated

using past experience or the estimates of knowledgeable
persons. CPM is a deterministic model that does not take into
account variation in the completion time, so only one number is
used for an activity's time estimate.

5. Identify the Critical Path

The critical path is the longest-duration path through the

network. The significance of the critical path is that the
activities that lie on it cannot be delayed without delaying the
project. Because of its impact on the entire project, critical path
analysis is an important aspect of project planning.

The critical path can be identified by determining the following

four parameters for each activity:

ES - earliest start time: the earliest time at which the

activity can start given that its precedent activities must be
completed first.
EF - earliest finish time, equal to the earliest start time for
the activity plus the time required to complete the activity.
LF - latest finish time: the latest time at which the activity
can be completed without delaying the project.
LS - latest start time, equal to the latest finish time minus
the time required to complete the activity.

The slack time for an activity is the time between its earliest and
latest start time, or between its earliest and latest finish time.
Slack is the amount of time that an activity can be delayed past
its earliest start or earliest finish without delaying the project.

The critical path is the path through the project network in

which none of the activities have slack, that is, the path for
which ES=LS and EF=LF for all activities in the path. A delay
in the critical path delays the project. Similarly, to accelerate the

project it is necessary to reduce the total time required for the

activities in the critical path.


Define the project and identify each activity

Develop relationships among the activities. (Decide which

activities must precede and which must follow others.)

Draw the network connecting all of the activities

Assign time and/or cost estimates to each activity

Compute the longest time path through the network. This is

called the critical path

Use the network to help plan, schedule, monitor, and control the
projectCalculate the earliest start time, earlier finish time, latest
start time & latest finish time.

Determine the total float for each activity on the basis of

difference between the earliest time & latest time.

Calculate the total duration of project.

Optimize the cost by shifting resources.


CPM provides the following benefits:

Provides a graphical view of the project.

Predicts the time required to complete the project.
Shows which activities are critical to maintaining the
schedule and which are not.

3.4 CPM Limitations:

CPM was developed for complex but fairly routine projects

with minimal uncertainty in the project completion times. For
less routine projects there is more uncertainty in the completion
times, and this uncertainty limits the usefulness of the
deterministic CPM model. An alternative to CPM is the PERT
project planning model, which allows a range of durations to be
specified for each activity.

Especially useful when scheduling and controlling large

Straightforward concept and not mathematically complex.
Graphical networks aid perception of relationships among
project activities.
Critical path & slack time analyses help pinpoint activities
that need to be closely watched.
Project documentation and graphics point out who is
responsible for various activities.
Applicable to a wide variety of projects.
Useful in monitoring schedules and costs

Useful at many stages of project management


Mathematically simple

Give critical path and slack time

Provide project documentation

Useful in monitoring costs

disadvantages in a CPM
1. In a big project, a CPM can become extremely complicated and difficult to fathom for the
new recruits to the project team.
2. If the project is far too bulky and lengthy, the CPM requires software to monitor the plan.
3. CPM can become ineffective and difficult to manage if it is not well-defined and stable.
4. It cannot effectively handle sudden changes in the implementation of the plan on ground.
It is very difficult to redraw the entire CPM chart if the plan of the project suddenly
changes midway.
5. The CPM cannot form and control the schedules of the persons involved in the project.
6. The allocation of resources cannot be properly monitored.
7. The critical path of the CPM of a big project is not always clear. The project managers
have to spend a lot of time to calculate it carefully.
8. The CPM takes longer to identity and to monitor the critical path when the project is of
big dimension.
9. Using CPM, identifying and determining a critical path is difficult when there are many
other similar duration paths in the project.
10. At times, to design a CPM is time consuming. It is also difficult to estimate the activity
completion time in a multidimensional project.

The Critical Path Method is an important tool for managing your project's schedule.
As you can see, it's not very difficult to determine it's key elements. However, once
your project has more than a few activities, critical path scheduling can become

Luckily, today's project management software provides this information for you. So
take a few minutes and learn how to access this information from your software and
you'll soon be on top of your schedule and performing critical path analysis like a
seasoned pro.