Critical Path Activity

The importance of good scheduling in project management ensures the ultimate success of the project. The critical path activity is defined as the tasks that establish the end date of the project schedule. When one of the project management tasks or activities are late by at least one day, then the project end date will be affected by being extended for one day. The critical path activity ensures that all critical activities will be right on schedule.  However, there are times when tasks are not on the critical path ad this is because there is a slack in creating the project schedule.

The term slack refers to the amount of time that a task can be delayed without causing impact to the start and end date of the subsequent task. This means that the critical path activity is a technique that identifies all tasks that will affect the project end date directly.

For activities that are not on the critical path, they can be implemented earlier or completed later depending on the need of the project manager. There is no problem starting them late or early as they do not jeopardize the completion of other critical activities. However, for activities that are stipulated within the critical path, it is important to implement them on the appropriate schedule set by the project manager so that it can end on the specified time. Failure to follow the critical path schedule will affect the entire scheduling of the project. Delays will surely happen that can also affect the budget and other resource allocation needed for the project.

Critical path activity can be done without using expensive or state-of-the-art project management software. Project managers can use a piece of paper and pencil to create the schedule of the task.

This term is defined in the 5th edition of the PMBOK.