The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines the critical path method or more commonly termed critical path as “the sequence of schedule activities that determines the shortest duration of the project.” The critical path methodology technique can also be applied to “determine amount of float” on various logical network paths in a project schedule network” that reflects minimum total project duration.
What is a Critical Task?
Any task in a project schedule network becomes critical if:
- It has no slack
- It has a Must Start On or Must Finish On date constraint.
- It has an As Late As Possible constraint in a project scheduled from a start date.
- It has an As Soon As Possible constraint in a project scheduled from a finish date.
- It has a finish date that is the same as or beyond its deadline date.
Note that a task stops being critical when it’s marked as completed, because it then can no longer affect the completion of successor tasks or the project finish date.
Identification and close monitoring of all critical tasks in a project is a first step to ensure they can be better managed. Fast Tracking & Crashing techniques are most commonly used by Project Managers to manage critical tasks on their projects.