Research Paper: CPM the Critical Path Method

Pages: 3 (964 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Architecture  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] There should be a single starting point and ending point, although some nodes may not have any contingent successors and predecessors (for example, the marketing of a group of development houses may be ongoing, and not necessarily dependent upon the project's physical construction, other than the need for its completion).

CPM is a useful part of the planning process of a construction project because it allows the involved parties to estimate which project are 'critical' in the sense that they must be completed on time, or else result in costly delays. Construction projects are easily stymied and can run months, even years over the estimated duration simply because one or two critical elements take longer than expected. (An excellent example of this is the infamous 'Big Dig' construction project in Boston, which was beset by delays during critical junctions of the construction process).

Once the most critical components of the project are determined, "if you put in information about the cost of each activity, and how much it costs to speed up each activity, CPM can help you figure out whether you should try to speed up the project, and, if so, what is the least costly way to speed up the project" (Baker 2004). A cost-benefit analysis of speed vs. financial outlays must always be conducted. A slower project costs more in labor, for example, but hiring additional workers and equipment may ultimately not save money for the project managers in the long run. Optimal use of CPM allows managers to find a balance between the scope of the project, its budget, and the best ways to use labor, equipment, and capital.

Even under the best of circumstances, however, projects can become conflicted. "The owner may expect the project to be completed on-time and on-budget. The general contractor has to finish within the allotted time, ensure its profit margin, manage relationships with subcontractors, and manage its relationship with the owner. Subcontractors require an efficient work environment so that productivity factors can be maintained" (About CPM, 2011, PMSB). The larger the project and the greater the number of subcontractors with potentially divergent interests (their phase of the project, for example, might simply be one project amongst many under the direction of the firm) the greater the risk of delays and in-fighting. But even when interpersonal conflicts occur, as they often do in the construction industry, knowledge is always power, and the CPM process gives managers the knowledge to more effectively negotiate a compromise between competing interests in the project.

References

About Critical Path Method (CPM). Project Management Services Bureau (PMSB). Retrieved

May 4, 2011

http://www.prjmgt.com/critical-path-method.html

Baker, Samuel. (2004). Critical Path Method (CPM). Retrieved May 4, 2011

http://hadm.sph.sc.edu/courses/J716/CPM/CPM.html

CPM. (2011). Net MBA. Retrieved May 4, 2011 at http://www.netmba.com/operations/project/cpm/

CPM. (2011). UGDSB. Retrieved May 4, 2011 at http://www.ugdsb.on.ca/jfr/ICS4M/cpm.pdf [END OF PREVIEW]

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/cpm-critical-path-method/9594561.