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06 January 2011

The Critical Path - A Tool To Keep The Project On Schedule

David A. Zimmer
David A. Zimmer, PMP
Chief Project Professor
American Eagle Group

PMBOK® Guide Definition
Generally, but not always, the sequence of schedule activities that determine the duration of the project. It is the longest path through the project.

Practical Definition
The longest paths of tasks through the project plan with zero float or zero slack.

Defining the Critical Path
Normally, the critical path defines the overall length of a project. Why is that important? It means that if any task along that path, known as a critical task or critical activity, slips by even one day, the project will suffer a day-for-day slip minimum. The project may slip more depending on the impact of the slip on resources or other factors, but at minimum, the slippage will be at least the amount of the task’s delay.