CPM stands for Critical Path Method. While making a formal project report in Microsoft Excel, you might need to draw a CPM network diagram that visualizes a project’s overall look. Today in this article I am going to share with you how to draw CPM network diagram in excel.
Download Practice Workbook
Download this practice workbook to exercise while you are reading this article.
Introduction to CPM Network Diagram
A CPM diagram can be named a project diagram which is quite similar to a flow chart. While a flow chart represents only the process, on the other hand, the critical path method diagram visualizes the whole scenario of a project. It also demonstrates the project stages, starting period, finishing date, etc. It is very helpful to get a summarized view of a project.
3 Simple Steps to Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel
In the following, I have explained 3 easy and simple steps to draw CPM network in excel.
Suppose we have a dataset of a project’s Activity, Daywise Time, and Predecessors. Now we will draw our CPM network diagram with the help of the dataset.
Step 1: Create Primary Diagram with Boxes and Lines
- To begin with, let’s create a cell with some borders just like the following screenshot.
- Then, we will draw some more boxes for project activities A and B.
- Similarly, draw boxes according to the arrangement for all the project activities just like the screenshot below.
- In order to connect them, we need to insert lines between the boxes.
- Hence, choose a “Line Arrow” from the “Shapes” option.
- After that, draw a line between “Start” and “Project Activity-A” to connect them.
- Similarly, draw lines to connect all the boxes to complete the network diagram.
Read More: How to Create a Network Diagram in Excel (With Easy Steps)
Step 2: Put Values into Diagram from Dataset
- In this step, we will count the total days required to complete the project. To do so-
- First, put the values inside the drawn boxes from the list.
- Second, to connect the starting of the project and “Activity A” we will put “0” as the starting days are still “Nil”.
- As “Project Activity-A” need 3 days to complete so the total stands to “0+3=3” days.
- In the same fashion, for project activity B the total stands to “0+2=2”.
- Similarly, we will calculate the total days needed for project activities C, D, E, and F.
Step 3: Complete CPM Network Diagram
- Now if we come to “Project Activity G” you will see we have put “7” instead of “6”.
- The reason is as the activities “D” and “E” both are connected with “Project Activity-G” we have to take the highest number of days which also represents an idle day for “Activity-D”.
- This way, we will calculate all the values until the end of the project.
- Finally, we have successfully drawn our CPM network diagram indicating the total 12 days needed to complete the project.
Things to Remember
- You can also insert “Text Box” from the “Insert” option to draw boxes. But you won’t be able to draw borders inside the “Text Box”.
In this article, I have tried to cover all the steps to draw CPM network diagram in excel. Take a tour of the practice workbook and download the file to practice by yourself. I hope you find it helpful. Please inform us in the comment section about your experience. We, the Exceldemy team, are always responsive to your queries. Stay tuned and keep learning.