Join Oliver Yarbrough for an in-depth discussion in this video Network diagramming question, part of Exam Tips: Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®.
- Network diagramming is a big part of project management so you should expect it to be a big part of the exam so you need to understand it thoroughly. Network diagramming questions may be presented in a number of ways. You may be given all of the information, activity, duration, and dependency, and then you're required to draw a diagram from scratch. Or they could give you a partially completed diagram and you need to complete it. Or you could be asked to interpret a completed diagram.
The concept of network diagramming is fairly simple. You're aligning the activities in the optimal sequence based on the project constraints. In other words, there are multiple ways you can accomplish the work that needs to be done on your project. But there's typically one best way to go about doing it. This is where network diagramming comes into play. Let's look at a two-part question based on this table. There's a copy of it in the exercise file. Part A of the question says, based on this information in this table, determine the number of network paths.
To begin, the question refers to network paths so immediately you should recognize this is a network diagramming question. Next, you should note you're actually at the intersection of planning and time management. There's nothing you can eliminate from the question and nothing in particular jumps out at you. This question is pretty straightforward. So now you need to calculate the network paths. The best way to determine the number of paths is to draw them out according to the dependencies. There are three network paths.
The first is A-C-E-F. The next is B-C-E-F. And the third is B-D-F. There are three paths so you can eliminate choices A, C, and D. The answer is B. Now that you feel confident, let's move on to part B of the question.
Based on the information in this table, determine which is the critical path. Since you already know there are three paths, all you have to do is add up the durations of each path to see which one is the longest. It looks like this. The calculation tells you that path A-C-E-F is the longest one. Thus, it is the critical path. C is the answer. If you had trouble following along, you'll want to review the network diagramming materials in the PMBOK or take a look at the training available on this site.
The key to getting network diagram questions right is to complete them one step at a time. This will help you answer the questions faster and keep you from making honest mistakes.
- What to expect on exam day
- Reviewing the fundamental aspects of project management
- Key success factors
- Navigating the CAPM® exam
- Managing your time on the exam
- Reviewing practice questions
- Establishing a solid study routine
- Reading for understanding