Now that we are executing our project on a daily basis…on which tasks should we focus our attention? Do you know which tasks are more important than all the rest?
If a task has “slack”, then it can move ahead or fall behind without affecting the overall schedule. If a task has some built-in margin (if it doesn’t hurt the overall project if it takes a few extra days) then it is not as important as other tasks. It can be managed inside the big pile of stuff to do.
Other tasks are more locked in. If they slip – even by one hour – the overall project slips with them. Those tasks are on the Critical Path. The Critical Path is the collection of tasks that directly affect the completion date of the project. If those critical tasks are delayed, the project is delayed. If those critical tasks are completed early, the project is completed early.
Not all tasks are on the Critical Path. In fact, most tasks in a project are not on the critical path.
This 3 minute video does a great job explaining how to find your Critical Path. If you’re too impatient to listen to the entire thing, skip the first 1.5min where he makes fun of everyone else.
What is my most important job as a project manager? To know my critical path…and to ensure that it receives my best time and energy.
Thanks for listening!