DEFINITION of 'Critical Path Analysis - CPA'
A process by which projects are outlined and sequenced to have the most favorable outcome. Critical path analysis involves the advanced and careful planning of complicated projects, taking into consideration the sequence of activities that must occur, and the estimated time necessary to each step's completion. The critical path can be thought of as the necessary flow that a project must follow to achieve timely success.
BREAKING DOWN 'Critical Path Analysis - CPA'
The intent of critical path analysis is to maximize success while minimizing the time needed to complete the project. It focuses on time management and the ongoing evaluation of a project's progress, and to help management with decision making. The process involves identifying the major activities that will be undertaken during the project, sequencing the major activities, constructing an activity flow design or chart, estimating the time for each activity, estimating the time to complete all of the activities and determining the critical path. This can be done, for example, by constructing a Gantt Chart.