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Beyond the Critical Path - the Need for Logic Analysis of Project Schedules

Beyond the Critical Path - the Need for Logic Analysis of Project Schedules

By Thomas Boyle, PE, PSP, PMP

This entry is intended to review the use of the Multiple Float-Path calculation option in Primavera Project Planner (P6) and to offer a brief example of its use compared to BPC Logic Filter.

Project schedules generated using the Critical Path Method (CPM) are commonly used to model – and to document – the project team’s plan for executing the scope of work.  Such a plan normally involves identifying necessary activities at an appropriate level of detail and specifying the necessary sequential relationships between them.  The output from the CPM analysis is a list of activities with associated durations, dates, and float values – this constitutes “the schedule”.  

Unfortunately, the sequential relationships that ultimately drive the schedule (i.e. the logical “plan”) can be difficult to communicate or analyze for all but the simplest projects.  This is because Total Float – the telltale indicator of logical-path connectivity in simple projects – becomes unreliable (or unintelligible) for such purposes in the presence of variable activity calendars or late constraints.  As a result, complex schedule models lose both usefulness and credibility among project stakeholders unless schedule managers go beyond the simple communication of dates, durations, and float.

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