Is it possible to shorten the critical path and save money? Explain how.
The critical path is the path with the longest duration through the network and involves all the projects which will delay the project by the same amount of time of their delay (Larson & Gray, 2011, p. 160). The critical path is the longest path and identifies the end of the project. The slack for the project is computed through the forward pass and backward pass technique. When the late finish equals the early finish, the activities on the critical path are those that also have a late finish that equals their early finish (Larson & Gray, 2011, p. 169). When Late finish equals early finish there is no slack in the activity. Therefore they must be part of the critical path because any delay in those activities would delay the project by the same amount of time.
Larson, E. W., & Gray, C. F. (2011). Project management, the managerial process. (5th ed. ed.). New York, NY: Irwin Professional Pub.
The schedule is something you will want to keep close watch on during the project. What are some examples of when you would want or need to reduce the project’s duration? Would there be any concerns you might want to consider when discussing the possibility of shortening the project?
Perhaps a time you would want to shorten a project’s duration is if you are in a business that has a competitor with a similar project in the works and you want to beat them to the punch. Another reason could be cost, if the budget is getting out of hand shortening the time will help that.
High tech business is the perfect example of beating another company to the punch. High tech evolves so fast that they are willing to pay out more in production to get their product on the shelf faster. A great example of this is the fall of Circuit City. Two years ago Circuit City put all of their eggs in one basket so to speak. They planned on selling a flat screen TV for their big Christmas push. Months before Christmas they invested an immense amount of capital in the TV’s that were at the time going to be sold cheaper that everyone else.
Unfortunately for them, several other companies found out Circuit Cities plan and accelerated production of their TV’s getting them on the shelves just in the nick of time and far cheaper than Circuit City. This forced Circuit City to sell the TV’s at little or no profit to get them off the shelf and ultimately along with some other poor choices put the company out of business.
An example of an instance that may require reduce a projects duration is when you want to make certain that your company is the first to hit market with a concept and the awareness of a competitor has come about. More than likely, depending on the product, consumers will not be interested in repeat purchasing.