When considering any sort of project management it is key that you have a definable goal, with a series of steps to help you achieve this goal. One way in which you can do this is critical path analysis. Not only does this help you to list all of the tasks that have to be completed to finish the project, but its main function is to approximate the length (and order) of the tasks. The process highlights the key jobs that need completing on time in order for you to achieve the goal within the minimum length of time.
One of the first steps in carrying out critical path analysis is to list all of the jobs that need to be completed over the course of the project. It does not matter how small these tasks are, they all need to be listed. At this stage it is not important to worry about an order or how long each task will take. However, you may wish to assign some broad categories to the list, this will help with the management of the project and enable you to assign the tasks to the correct person.
The next step is to consider the time that each task in the project will take to complete. There will probably be a large variation in the length of time each task is expected to take. However, it is key that you consider the best case scenario for all of these tasks, this will help you manage the project well and it is possible to build in some flexibility with a contingency at the end. Obviously, these times are not set in stone and therefore will only be estimates. The purpose of the Critical path analysis is to see an approximate length, highlighting the key tasks.
Finally, you have to look at the dependencies of the tasks. This is when you set up an order, looking at which tasks need to be carried out before others can be started.
Here is where the critical path begins to become evident; they are the "Bottleneck" tasks which others rely on and need to be completed before other tasks within the project can be started. In other words these are the tasks where there is no 'float' time. If this process is carried out effectively then the management of the project should become easier as you will be able to see which tasks absolutely have to come in on time, assigning them to the best managers.