The longest sequence of activities in a network. Usually, but not always, a sequence with zero float. The critical path is an accident of arithmetic. It may be the longest sequence of activities, but there may be others that have such minimal float as to be inconsequential. It does not account for resource constraints. Once resource leveling has been performed, slack and the critical path are no longer valid calculation. (All paths usually contain gaps.) The Project Management Institute’s definition of critical path notes that it changes as the project progresses.

(Critical Chain Project Management by Lawrence P. Leach Feb 2000)

Other Definitions

Critical Path – The series of tasks that must finish on time for the entire project to finish on schedule . Each task on the critical path is a critical task .(Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms v2.1)

Critical Path – In a project network diagram, the path with the longest duration. The critical path may change from time to time as activities are completed ahead of or behind schedule . See critical path method .(Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms v2.1)

Critical Path – The line of project activities having the least float, especially when float is close to, or below zero. (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms v2.1)

Critical Path – The route through the network that has only critical activities.(Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms v2.1)

Critical Path – The series of consecutive activities that represent the longest path through the project. (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms v2.1)

Critical Path – In a network diagram , the longest path from start to finish or the path without any slack , and thus the path corresponding to the shortest time in which the project can be completed. (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms v2.1)

Critical Path – The critical path is the path (sequence) of activities which represent the longest total time required to complete the project. A delay in any activity in the critical path causes a delay in the completion of the project. There may be more than one critical path depending on durations and work flow logic. (Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms v2.1)

Critical Path – The term critical path means a sequence of tasks for a given project, such that a delay in any task causes a delay in the overall project. All critical path tasks are important because if any critical path task should slip, then the entire project will slip by the same amount. (The Joy of VB –
Critical Path Analysis
)

J. Jerrald Hayes
I am ex-architectural woodworker and general contractor turned IT, Business and Project Management consultant, software developer wannabe senior division triathlete and ski racer, Yankee fan and founder of Paradigm-360.com, 360 Difference Mac4Construction.com,iOS4Construction.com and now TheBuildingAndRemodelingWiki.com too.
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