Mastering planning and scheduling: monitoring critical paths

Published by Massimoluigi Casinelli on

What about if you have more than one critical path on your project?

You may have more critical paths but you can have only one longest path which is certainly the most important “path” under the focus of the project manager.

The problem is that critical paths and longest path change continually and the project manager should focus on the current critical paths as well as on current sub-critical paths, which can become “critical” or “longest” and they will certainly if the project manager doesn’t take the right corrective actions.

Managing longest, critical and sub-critical paths is a matter of risk management. Technical speaking, it requires the so called “float management” (Total and Free Float, as minimum), which, in turn, depends upon many factors included contract specifications, nature of project (which dictates the hard-logic sequence of works), project organization and procurement strategy adopted and roles of key Stakehoders.

In essence, “float management” becomes the means by which PM can focus on the evolution of longest, critical and sub-critical path.

Obviously, you need a robust CPM logic-network which represents the project. Developing a comprehensive project plan with a robust CPM network is one of the most challenging and interesting activity in project management.

It requires a combination of experience, skills in planning and scheduling as well as of technical acumen, supported by the knowledge of contractual terms. For these reasons it is also crucial to set up project planning and scheduling procedures to guarantee that schedule update is performed properly.

Categories: Short notes

Massimoluigi Casinelli

I am a chartered civil engineer and certified CCP (cost engineering and total cost management) at AACE International, with thirty years of experience in project management of the construction sector. I deliver expert planning, programme management and project controls on multibillions-Euro infrastructure programmes, including highways and railways, metro, air terminals and complex buildings (commercial, residential, schools), with some experience in oil & gas and power. I worked in advanced contexts of project management (from matrix organizations of EPC contractors to large employers organized to manage complex capital projects), by undertaking various roles in the field of project management / controls and contract management; this diverse range of experiences allowed me to gain knowledge on the various components of project controls (schedule, cost estimating, budgeting and cost control, progress and performance measurement, risk and claim management). I am an Italian citizen, currently in Italy.

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