A critical path is a sequence of tasks that can affect a project completion date. So, if some of the tasks from the critical path are delayed, the end date of the project will also be delayed.
Traditionally, a critical path has been calculated by hand, but GanttPRO can do it automatically for you. So, if you enable a critical path on a Gantt chart, you will immediately see all the tasks that directly impact the project completion date.
How to use Critical path in GanttPRO?
Let’s see how it works in a simple example.
Suppose you have to organize a conference that will be held on February 16. To prepare for it, you need to perform a set of sequential tasks that cannot start before the previous one is completed. Thus, you will define the start and end dates for every task and establish dependencies between them.
After that, you will need to enable the Critical path on your Gantt chart. For that, go to the top left corner of the project grid and click on the corresponding sign. All the critical tasks will be highlighted in red.
On the other hand, you may have a project where the tasks are not dependent and can be completed simultaneously. In this case, the only critical tasks that will affect the project completion date are the ones that finish the last.
So, for example, if you are performing marketing activities for an event that must be completed by February 16, your critical tasks will be the ones that end on the same day.
Following critical tasks can be helpful to redistribute resources from other not so important tasks when there is a probability that the project may be going behind schedule. Or, to focus on tasks with higher priority should the circumstances require.
How to manage critical tasks?
Let’s use another example to see how to reduce the overall project duration by managing critical tasks. This is the list of tasks with dependencies and highlighted critical tasks.
As we can see, tasks “Stage 1”, and “Stage 2” in Product Concept are the longest ones and impact directly project completion date. Thus, we can redistribute resources from the other tasks to these ones, so that they can be finished earlier.
In particular, in our case, we can reassign project members from the tasks “Target Customers” and “Similar Products Research” to the tasks “Stage 1”, and “Stage 2”. Project duration will be reduced by 5 days.
Another option could be to invite other team members to the project or hire external consultants.