Proven Benefits from CPM Scheduling

Critical Path Method (CPM) Scheduling has been in use in construction for a number of years, although not everyone uses it. However, there are a wide range of benefits to using CPM Scheduling; benefits that can make any construction project run smoother.

While CPM scheduling may not have wide acceptance in construction, project managers in other fields have used it for years. The time taken to determine the critical path and develop the schedule around it is seen as time well spent, speeding the project towards completion, with less problems.

Any project has a critical path, whether you think of it or not. These are the list of tasks that have to be started and completed on time, in order for the project to be completed on time. Other tasks may have some leeway in the schedule, but not these. In many cases, you may actually be looking at that critical path and planning your work load around it in your head, without doing so formally.

So, what are the benefits of taking to time to do a critical path analysis and define the critical path for a project?

  • It helps define the minimum total project duration in a logical manner.
  • It helps the project manager define actual start dates for each subcontractor and phase of the project, providing more accurate scheduling information. This in turn helps prevent delays.  By determining the relationships between different tasks, it is easier to ensure that they are properly scheduled for maximum effectiveness and minimum delay.
  • Determines what float or lag time exists on parts of the project. Knowing that allows some flexibility in scheduling and prevents wasting time on fixing a scheduling problem that doesn’t exist (fighting a problem that the lag time eliminates).
  • Helps the project management team know where to focus their efforts, by knowing which tasks are critical to the overall project.
  • Identifies which tasks can be run in parallel with each other, without causing problems.
  • Helps identify which tasks are dependent upon each other, so that it is easier to determine the impact of problems.
  • Provides a clear project schedule, so that the project management team can know at any point in time how they are doing in comparison to the overall schedule.
  • Demonstrates is there are multiple critical paths, or if the critical path has changed due to a task being completed early.
  • By developing a long-range plan through CPM everyone involved in the project has a better understanding of where their part fits into the overall schedule.
  • Helps reduce waste by providing the ability to schedule more economically.

As you can see, there is an extensive list of advantages of using CPM. There are a number of software programs which have been created to make the CPM process easier. You can also define it in any project management software package, which will print a PERT chart (CPM map) and also define it on the GANTT chart.

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