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Critical Path shows a task or tasks which can cause your project to fall behind (i.e. if a task on the Critical Path is delayed then you can/will miss your Project due date). On the timeline portion of the Gantt Chart, all tasks which are part of the Critical Path turn red, tasks not on the Critical Path remain their original color.
Use Critical Path to:
- Focus on the tasks which are crucial to the project’s completion.
- See what tasks can be rescheduled without affecting the project’s deadlines.
Critical Paths highlight:
- The latest scheduled task in a Folder(s)/Project(s).
- If the latest scheduled task is linked to other tasks via dependencies, then any task where even a 1-day delay would push out the final task’s end date is also highlighted in red.
- Select a Folder or Project from the Folder tree.
- Switch to the Gantt Chart.
- Click the Critical Path icon in the upper left-hand corner.
Any task where a delay would push out the project deadline turns red.
1: One Task Critical Path (Space Between Tasks)
On the Critical Path: Task J.
- If Task J’s due date changes, then the Project’s finish date changes as well. Even a 1 day delay to Task J would push out the Project’s finish date, therefore it’s a part of the Critical Path.
- Tasks I and H aren’t included in the Critical Path because there’s a gap between their due dates and Task J’s start date (i.e. tasks I and H could have some delay without affecting Task J).
2: Two Task Critical Path (No Space Between Tasks)
On the Critical Path: Tasks H and J.
- Task H now ends immediately prior to Task J (there’s no gap between them). Task H is also connected to Task J via a finish to start dependency. That means that if Task H is pushed out, Task J will be too, and Task’s J’s finish date impacts the Project’s finish date.
3: Multiple Task Critical Path (Multiple Dependencies)
On the Critical Path: Tasks A, E, H, and J
- Task E’s due date is now the day before Task H’s start date (there’s no gap between tasks). Task A’s due date is the day before Task E’s start date (there’s no gap between them).
- If either Task A, E, or H are delayed by one day then Task J is delayed and the Project’s end date is pushed out as well.