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Systemetic process in Critical Path Analysis

The purpose of the Critical Path Analysis is two-fold: (i) to find the critical path, i.e. the sequence of activities with the longest duration. Once it is found it is marked in bold sequence of arrows on the network. For a simple network various sequences can be enumerated and the durations of activities encompassed by them simply added, to find the critical sequence. One could indeed end up with more than one critical sequence; and (ii) to find the float associated with each non-critical activity.

Systematic analysis: The enumeration method would be too cumbersome computationally for any real life project, Even the computer would be hard pressed to proceed this way. There is a systematic way that cuts short the analysis time to manageable proportions.

It is accomplished by performing the following steps:
1. Calculate the time schedule for each activity. This represents the time by which an activity must begin and the time before which it must be completed. The time schedule data for each activity includes, the earliest start, earliest finish, the latest start, latest finish, and finally the float, which is the spare time associated with an activity.

2. Calculate the time schedule for the completion of entire project. This represents the scheduled date for the completion of the entire project and the probability of completing the project on or before the deadline.

3. Identify the critical activities. These activities are the ones which must be started and completed on schedule, or else the project is likely to be delayed.

4. Determine the critical path for the network. This path represents the critical activities which must be closely followed in order to complete the project on time.
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