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Who defines what is CPM?

2 replies [Last post]
Carlos Arana
User offline. Last seen 1 year 44 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 178
I found this at the PMI College of scheduling ( and it looks interesting, I wanted to share it with everyone, what’s your opinion?


EDITORIALS - (From ENR: 5/26/03 Issue)

Who Defines What is Critical Path Method?

There are so many important questions raised by this week’s cover story on the way scheduling is done in construction that it’s hard to know from where the answers will come. Four scheduling experts, project management consultants James J. O’Brien, Fredric Plotnick, and Stuart Ockman and Attorney Jon Wickwire, say there is a two-part crisis in schedule writing: First, PDM schedules drawn up today often are flawed; Second, Primavera Systems Inc. and its competitors should limit or change the flexible features in their software or include warnings that make it apparent when some features have been used. Primavera counters that it makes a flexible tool that meets the needs of its customers and it isn’t responsible for abuses.

At issue is the definition of what is considered critical path method scheduling; how it is taught in schools; whether it is used as a planning tool or legal record. Also at issue is whether a software company with market dominance, together with its users, or a scheduling "priesthood"–one that by implication may be decidedly old-school–determine the future of this subject.

The Project Management Institute’s new College of Scheduling has an ambitious agenda and we hope it will provide a lively forum for discussing these issues. Partly because the college’s directors include three of the four critics named above and Dick Faris, president of Primavera, it doesn’t at first seem like the place where these issues can be resolved. But at least the parties are all at the same table.

The answer to some of these questions will probably be provided in future specifications and contract terms of federal public works agencies as they relate to schedules. There are a lot of good PDM schedules being written and that can’t be overlooked. But there may be a future for a version of PDM that has some of the transparency of ADM or at least contains warnings in the form of an asterisk when some of the flexible PDM features have been used.

At some point, courts and state legislatures may end up distinguishing between undiluted critical path method scheduling and more flexible PDM schedules. Perhaps there is a place for software that supports "classic" CPM or PDM of the type that would satisfy purists. Such a multitiered software market, stimulated by demand from owners, contractors and consultants, and informed by new standards, would be the best possible answer to some of these questions about the state of CPM scheduling. But that may not be possible in the real world, where the widespread use of personal computers and a de facto PDM standard seem to have changed the very meaning of the words "critical path method."



Samer Zawaydeh
User offline. Last seen 1 year 19 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 3 Aug 2008
Posts: 1664
Dear Carlos,

This is a very good question for us to go back and read the basics. It has been around for 50 years! The definition did not change.

What is the CPM on a particular project depends on your Program of Works.

With kind regards,

Rafael Davila
User offline. Last seen 5 hours 22 min ago. Offline
Joined: 1 Mar 2004
Posts: 4876
I would burry James J. O’Brien, Fredric Plotnick, and Stuart Ockman and Attorney Jon Wickwire, alive, all together in a single coffin to make sure they stop being ambivalent.