Each task on the Critical Path must be completed on time for the whole project to be completed on time.
It is only by viewing the Critical Path that you can identify the best way to shorten the duration of a project. The only way to reduce the Project plan duration is to reduce the duration of a task or tasks on the critical path - for example, by adding resources. If the project manager doesn't know the critical path they could easily spend considerable time working to reduce the duration of tasks that will not impact the project end date.
More information on Critical Path Analysis
Video - How to show the path in the Gantt View
Viewing the Critical Path step-by-step written guideHere's a step-by-step guide to help you view the critical path in your Gantt chart in Microsoft Project Standard:
1. Open Your Project PlanStart by opening your project plan in Microsoft Project. Ensure you're in the Gantt chart view, which is the default view for most projects.
2. Navigate to Gantt Chart FormatOnce you're in the Gantt chart view, look for the "Gantt Chart Format" option in the toolbar or ribbon.
3. Locate the Bar Styles GroupWithin the Gantt Chart Format options, search for the "Bar Styles" group. This group contains various formatting options for the bars in your Gantt chart.
4. Highlight Critical TasksIn the Bar Styles group, find and click on the "Critical Tasks" option. Once selected, all the critical tasks in your project will be highlighted in red. These red tasks represent the critical path in your project plan.
5. Understand the Significance of the Critical Path
- All dependencies are correct.
- Task durations are accurate.
- Additional resources can be added.
- Non-working days can be adjusted.
6. Filter to View Only Critical Path TasksIf you want a more streamlined view that displays only the tasks on the critical path:
- Go to the "View" option in the toolbar.
- Locate and select the "Filter" menu.
- From the list of filters, choose the "Critical" filter. This will display only the tasks that are on the critical path.
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- Constraints part 1 - How to use Microsoft Project constraints
- Create constraints - How to create project constraints
- Critical Path - Viewing the Critical Path - video tutorial
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- Filters - How to create a custom filter in Microsoft Project
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- Progress lines - This how to guide explains progress lines, how to read them and how to use them.
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