I love management theory. I mean, at the end of the day we need to deliver real world results to our clients, but management theory can be great for helping us conceptualize things. They make you think about how things fit together, put two and two together and reframe how we’re thinking about things. Some management theories are very useful and one of the most useful theories for me is one called “the Critical Path.”
I learned about this theory as an undergraduate studying business administration and I’ve used the theory again and again in my life as I’ve built my law firm (www.mcbrideattorneys.com), as I’ve built my strategy firm (www.mcbrideforbusiness.com), and my speaking business (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com).
So, what is this and why is it so powerful?
The concept of the critical path is to lay out the various steps you have in a project in an organized fashion. You’re going to look at the order of operations. Which things need to be completed before the other things. What order do things go in? How long is a particular segment of the project going to take?
Once you’ve completed this powerful planning for your project and broken your project down into intermediate steps (which by the way, is a great help to begin with) then you look at which items on the project list are critical to the overall competition times.
Which ones need to be focused on and completed so that the next steps can be taken? Some of your steps won’t be as important to overall timing so this tells you where to focus your attention.
For instance, if you take your business development plan, break it into a variety of steps that logically flow from one to another you will be able to concentrate on the ones that are on the critical path (the ones that are so critical to your overall timing). That’s where you can keep your attention focused.
You don’t need to focus as much on the items that are on the non-critical path because you have more leeway to work on them. Of course, you can’t let them sit forever because if they do, they’ll become critical path items in themselves. But it’s a great way to think about it and analyze where you are and where you’re going with your business and to make sure you’re focusing your attention in the right place.
What’s been your experience? Have you used a critical path? Would this planning help you? Join us in the comments below and let us know what your experience has been.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.
About the Author
Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com), gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 418-0258.
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