Critical path in managing of project teams

Critical path
Critical path

Managing Project teams: The Role of Critical Path


Management of project teams is one aspect of project management that should be handled with care. This should be done through coming up with proper schedule of events. The roles of each team player should be well defined. The processes to use for the purpose of achieving various objectives should be set out well. This essay describes management of project teams through use of various tools. This essay details the the role of the critical path method regarding task assignments and the negotiation of resource allocation within the project team. This essay is based on Electronic Health register project for hospitals.

Project schedule on the project tasks to be performed and the contribution of individual team members behavior in allocation of tasks

Project schenduling involves the time frame  set for  the project to be operational. Identification of dependencies in EHR  implementation  plays a major part in project scheduling of activities. This scheduling  may touch some hospitals for pilot and later all hospitals inclusively ; and the number of participants  are determined  directly proportional to the number of hospitals there in. In this project , all objectives are achieved within a certain set period under a given resource as depicted by the project schedule below.

 Project Management Improvement Project – Phase 1Effort Estimate in DaysPlanned Start DatePlanned End DateResource
1EHR implimentation
1.1Training on implimentation of EHR    
 Training on implimentation of EHR10.0006/01/1606/08/16IT officers, HR, officers, community members and clinical officers
2Plan Project
2.1planning, staffing, budgeting and project timing10.0007/01/1607/29/16Funds Sourcing (Accountants and project co-ordinators)
2.2EHR Control tools7.0007/15/1607/29/16Initiating budget cellings (budget committee)
2.3EHR Expected Benefits5.0007/22/1607/29/16Time Control tools,(reduced queing)
3.1Design Framework    
3.1.1Designing EHR web framework delivery tools & Content formats8.0008/01/1608/15/16EHR technical committee (Software engineers)
3.2.1Build web tool prototype and review content for quality97.0009/01/1610/31/16Clinical officers , Software engineers and Audit team
3.3.1Test usability of web tool13.0009/19/1611/30/16EHR audit team and Clinical officers
3.4.1Replace traditonal data entry with modern one.6.0012/01/1612/30/16EHR technical team and the community representatives.
4.1Conduct Post-Project Review6.0001/03/1701/10/17Audit team and technical experts

How the behavior of individual team members can determine the tasks they receive

Management of project  depends on availability  of resources  which are always scarce. This calls for  expertise and and structures so as to  attain projected goals of a project. Individual characters and task groups play a major role in the project planning process, forming and execution. The behavior that each of the project team members exhibit determines the roles that are allocated.

The allocation of duties by management is relatively subjective due to the desired success factors. For this project, the behavior of the project team members has been measured through use of knowledge and understanding of the project. This has let to responsibilities being issued on the basis of : Knowledge and understanding about the operation and implementation of  the modern  Electronic Health Register .

Those who have holistic understanding of the project cycle are given more responsibilities than those who do not. Ability to give progress reports is another behavioral factor to consider. Team members who are used to forwarding their reports in time have end up being assets to project managers. This is because project management requires timely updates.

Additionally, individuals who are team players get assigned roles much easier than those who are not. Team spirit when upheld, builds innovative capacity and  cohesiveness which is the focal point for an organizations success. Group members demonstrating high levels of maturity and leadership are selected to monitor and control organizational politics which sometimes become an impediment to the progress of an organization.

Geographical location also plays a major part in roles allocation, as those who come from a certain geographical area especially where the EHR will be implemented may be assigned more roles or certain roles as its difficult for them to receive rejection from their community. It is important to carefully assign duties to avoid frustration of organizations activites and minimize conflicts that may impair progress of a project.

Key processes to follow when managing the project schedule and oversight each project team member may require based on their behavior.

Project management is usually based on processes. It involves discharge of  managerial   procedures, materials and  essential techniques in  unraveling the project schedule. EHR implimentation is of prime importance as it saves patients money, time  and allows customers to enjoy optimal functionality of the health sector.

These processes endeavour to deliver quality patient care, uphold efficiency and effectiveness in hospitals, promote  timely attendance to customers and strive to  exceed customers satisfaction in order  mantain loyalty from all its clients. These processes are grouped  phases depending on the service anticipated or sought.They include:

1. Recourse Planning – This is the overall technical and material required to run the project as per the plan without budget strains. They include the  human capital, the  equipment needed and  the material levels  necessary. This process is fundamental in estimating the budget necessary for the implementation of the electronic health register. This stage consists of professionals who hardly require longer supervision. Support staff in this phase may be guided by the professionals , however little external oversight is necessary to eliminate defiance and promote peer interaction.

2. Project Cost Estimation –  This revolves around projected financial estimates that the whole project will incur. It is necessary to develop this projection to enable the project manager to determine whether the available funds are sufficient to implement the project and if not, to open up on better ways to source  for finances. Budget committees constitute the financial projection team. Thorough supervision should be given at this phase to avoid over or under estimation of figures.

3. Project Activity Budgeting – This involves allocating a vote to every program. It determines the cost of each individual activity that enables the organization arrive to its cost estimates.  It is important to do activity costing to seal loop holes for inefficiencies and promote overall effectiveness of the project activities. Each group here gives its individual budget on the basis of tasks  allocated. Supervision is critical here to control exaggeration of figures.

4. Cost Control –  This process is about controlling changes to project budget. This also involves controlling projects expenses to  ensure that the intended project remain within budget limits. It basically targets to eliminate wastes and enhance project efficiency through the stakeholders and the  project manager.

Precedence diagram method in managing team tasks and team conflicts

Precedence diagram is a management tool that involves graphical presentation of sequential activities  to explain inter–dependencies and order . It is also called activity on node. This tool is of necessity in drawing critical path network diagrams.It makes use of arrows and nodes. The arrows pointing the end activity. Precedence diagrams are critical in fostering information reliance to the stakeholders.

These diagrams normally use four types of dependencies. One of the dependencies is finish to start dependencies. This explains that the second activity can not be performed without actualizing the first activity. The other dependency is finish to finish events which explains that the first activity and the second activity should start simultaneously. For example crafting of managerial tools is dependent on the tools used in the implementation of EHR and when one activity will be over, the other one will definitely come to an end.

Start to start events is the other dependence. It states that the first activity should start at the same time with the second activity. For example replacement of old health register will be over when the electronic health register will come in to operation. Proper documentation of activities or tasks by the use of the critical path plays a major part in making teams to understand what activities are important than others.

The critical path also plays a major part in explaining the reasons for allocating resources in other tasks earlier than others. It also enables all task teams to understand why they receive a certain compensation interms of bonuses while others do not.

The role of the critical path method regarding task assignment and the negotiation of resources allocation within project teams

Critical path method is one of the oldest mathematical programming models that was operationalised  by DuPoint in 1950 in the missile defense construction projects. This was in a view to schedule the activities done on the basis of their importance in order to determine the longest time consumed so as determine the shortest time to be taken for a project completion.

The critical and the  non-critical events determine  how the essential activities will consume resources and the time they will take to be completed. It is represented by a critical path diagram. In order to make proper use of the critical path method, work packages are  grouped and assigned to the project deliverables to aid in project planning and execution. These packages are assigned completion times which at times depict the cost accrued from the project actualization.

When all these packages are linked,  they form a schedule. The below example explains  WBS of Hospital activities that are crafted and networked to be represented in a network diagram. In EHS implimentation, activities are inter inter linked from training up to the project exit. Each task is carefully managed since the work outflow is sequential through the critical path.

Negotiation of resources allocation within project team

Projects are mostly construed by resources against the wide and diversified requirements and ever shifting priorities. Negotiation plays a critical role in organization’s performance and specifically on  EHR resource allocation. The critical path method helps the EHR project manager in determining the resource limits to allocate to the project teams. This may be either on the basis of the priority or logic. Projects that start earlier than others are allocated resources first in assistance of the tools and expertise needed.

Critical path method is necessary in ensuring a win – win situation for the project teams and the project management. Resource negotiation  plays a key role in determining eligible overtime, in evaluation of performance to determine on  the bonuses to be given and determining on whether to extend the team members contract or not. This also helps in analyzing whether an event is critical or non-critical in a bid to determine resource allocation.


Kallantizis, A, (2014), Critical path determination by incorporation dminimum and maximum time and distance constraints into linear scheduling(Online) Retrieved from   ,Last Accessed 26 th march, 2017

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