Critical Path Models (CPM) in Projects with Complex Tasks

After running the model, the complex path map shows the highlighted critical path (Figure 2.8) of the project, that is, the path that has the highest potential for bottlenecks and delays in completing the project on time. The exact path specifications and probabilities of being on the critical path are seen in Figure 2.7 (e.g., there is a 56.30% probability that the critical path will be along Tasks 1, 3, 8, 10, 13, 14).

If there are multiple projects or potential project path implementations, the portfolio view (Figure 2.9) compares all projects and implementation paths for the user to make a better and more informed risk-based decision. The simulated distributions can also be overlaid (Figure 2.10) for comparison.

Figure 2.9 allows users to see all projects that were modeled at a glance. Each project modeled can actually be different projects or the same project modeled under different assumptions and implementation options (i.e., different ways of executing the project), to see which project or implementation option path makes more sense in terms of cost and schedule risks. The Analysis of Alternatives radio selected allows users to see each project as stand-alone (as compared to Incremental Analysis where one of the projects is selected as the base case and all other projects’ results show their differences from the base case) in terms of cost and schedule: single-point estimate values, simulated averages, the probabilities that each of the projects will have a cost or schedule overrun, and the 90th percentile value of cost and schedule. Of course, more detailed analysis can be obtained from the Risk Simulation | Simulation Results tab, where users can view all of the simulation statistics and select any confidence and percentile values to show. This Portfolio Analysis tab also charts the simulated cost and schedule values using bubble and bar charts for a visual representation of the key results.


Figure 2.8: Complex Project Critical Path



Figure 2.9: Portfolio View of Multiple Projects at Once



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