What is Drag? Critical Path Analysis: Putting the “Criticals” Back

Experiential PMs said that they slapped their heads at the new measurement when they first heard about it.
Yes! It’s so obvious that no one thought of it! Why didn’t I see it?
I have good news to share with them: they are still among a small group of people who are aware of critical path drag. Most people don’t even know about it. Project Manager Today is publishing this article as an addition to Carl Pritchard’s interview about my books.
Carl focuses on the most important aspect of my methodology: The concept that every project must be planned and monitored with ROI, the most important measure for every investment as its pole star. However, managing to maximize value and profit takes:
Understanding the Golden Triangle of scope time cost and cost interaction to generate the expected profit is key.
Each parameter should be managed with an eye towards ROI. This requires new enhancements to existing techniques. These enhancements, which I have discussed in detail in my books, help manage important factors such as the value of scope and the cost of time. They also track progress not only of earned value (which can be cost-based), but also of the business value measured using ROI.
The most obvious enhancements to scheduling metrics are critical path drag and drag loss.
Let’s make an important distinction: CPM scheduling is not the same as critical path analysis.
CPM is a method for creating a project plan by estimating the duration and sequencing them in the most logical order they can occur.
Critical path analysis is the process by which any schedule is analyzed, regardless of how it was initially developed – resource-leveled critical paths, traditional CPM, agile or darts on a dartboard – in order to make improvements.
The completion date is the most important factor in determining expected value/ROI for a large majority of project investments. A faster completion date will usually result in a higher total value, quicker generation of that value, as well as eliminating the risk of a later completion. Every project’s actual length will be the same as its duration.
What is the most important metric for critical path analysis? It’s not float, whether total or free. Float is a measure that you have more time than you need and it is almost always! Activities that are not on the critical path.
If the goal of critical path analysis is to increase the project’s value by reducing the schedule (perhaps at the beginning or after slippage), then it is the one that applies to longest paths! It’s a metric that helps the project team determine how much time each critical activity, constraint or resource bottleneck, sprints, stumbles, dropped baton, and rework is adding to the remaining project duration. It is the one that, when there are changes to pull in the longest route (thereby making another path longer), will show how long each item on the new CP is delaying completion!
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Critical path drag is the metric. It is the second most important (critical?) metric. It is a critical path analysis metric. Why is the second most important metric so important? Drag cost is the most important metric. It is the amount of drag caused by a critical path item that reduces your project’s expected value. This metric is the most important because it will allow the project team optimize their project investment (the ultimate goal for every project). Justification of the cost of resources by $X in order to reduce drag