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Critical Path vs Critical Chain
Critical path and critical chain are both methods of project scheduling.
The critical path method calculates the early start and finish dates and late start and finish dates for all schedule activities.
The critical path method involves performing a forward pass analysis and a backward pass analysis through the project schedule network paths. The forward pass determines the early start (ES) and early finish (EF) dates (ES + duration (DU) = EF). The backward pass determines the late start (LS) and late finish (LF): (LF – DU = LS).
The critical path is the longest path through the schedule with either zero or negative total float.
Critical activities are those schedule activities on the critical path. Near-critical activities are those schedule activities with very little total float.
The critical chain method is a technique that modifies the project schedule to account for limited resources by adding duration buffers that are non-work schedule activities to maintain focus on the planned activity durations.
Critical chain is completed after determining critical path by entering resource availability and the resulting schedule produces a resource-constrained critical path, which is usually altered from the original. Critical chain focuses on managing remaining buffer durations against the remaining durations of task chains.
The critical path method (CPM) is a popular approach to project scheduling that considers the amount of float on project activities. Critical chain takes CPM a step further by adding time buffers to account for limited resources.
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