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Critical path analysis



I have been asked to create a short (40 mins) session on Critical Path Analysis. I have limited knowledge on this topic, but would like to create a fun, interactive session. This will be to a group of 6, with no prior knowledge assumed.

Any ideas or tips would be very welcome!

Many thanks,


5 Responses

  1. 2 short!

    Hi Emma

    It is doubtful that you can actually do more than a brief introduction to CPA in 40 minutes….what is your learning objective for the session?

    Are you looking at CPA in isolation or within a process map or a project plan?

    If you can give me a bit more information I might be able to help


  2. …but if you don’t…..

    ….I can’t!

    Can I assume that you have changed your mind or found out about the subject elsewhere?


  3. CPA

    Thanks – the learning objective is just ‘to explain what CPA is, and do it for a simple project’ (I imagine something like making a cup of tea). There is an assumption of an introductory knowledge to project management in general, but this session is purely about CPA. I agree it is too short, but the length is not something I can change! If you have any suggestions that would be great!


  4. a suggestion

    I’d suggest do a CPA on a menu for a barbeque….you can get the instructions from virtually any cooking website, and will fill 40 minutes which could be tricky with the cup of tea scenario

    Assume a charcoal barbeque.

    the great things about this are:

    a) Everyone has some idea of cooking and of barbeques

    b) if you don’t light the barbeque in good time for it to reach cooking temperature (ie long before you need the barbeque itself) then you have an enforced wait….you have hit a bottleneck….you failed to analyse the critical path. This could be an issue of space planning and availability of equipment.

    c) you have to have the matches, as well as the charcoal and the barbeque…if you haven’t got these things at the earlier time you hit a bottleneck, this shows the importance of consumable resource planning in CPA

    d) whether you lit the barbeque at the right time or not you have to keep checking it….if it goes out or burns too fast you hit a bottleneck, this shows the importance of output over activity.

    e) your critical path is (probably) weather dependent ie reliant on forces outside your control, this brings you on to risk assessment and risk management as well, showing the links with CPA


    I hope this helps



  5. CPA in 40 minutes

     I’ve done it on a simple (and I do mean simple) Market Research project which makes it more businesslike.  I’ve got an animated PowerPoint that explains things like "critical"  and how to calculate float but you do need to have some understanding yourself to use it.  I’m more interested in why they want to know and what technology is being used.  Nobody with anything better to do draws CPA charts by hand any more.  What is the context for people learning CPA?

    You can have my PowerPoint in return for a contribution to charity (Tenovus) if you acknowledge the source.


    Clive Hook


    Making Learning a Habit

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