Critical Path Method (CPM)

The term critical path method refers to a specific technique of schedule network analysis that is used to determine the amount of flexibility that exists in regards to the scheduling of a particular and specific logical network path with the network of the project schedule. The amount of flexibility within the scheduling here can also be referred to by the term “float“. Another important element of the technique of critical path method involves the determination of minimum total project duration. A forward pass is used to determine and calculate the early start and finish dates, through utilization of a previously specified start date. A backward pass is used to determine and calculate the late start and finish dates, again, through use of a previously determined date, this time a previously determined finishing date. In some cases the previously determined finish date is also the early finish date determined through the calculating done though the forward pass.

This term is defined in the 3rd and the 4th edition of the PMBOK.

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