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Teaching guide: network analysis

Use this teaching guide in the classroom to engage your students, contextualise the model/theory in real-world business and prepare them for the exam.

Section 3.10.3 Managing strategic implementation.


Network analysis is used in project planning. It is one of several possible project management tools that managers might use.

To undertake network analysis managers:

  • think of all the activities involved in a project (this is often a useful activity in itself to ensure all the different elements of the project have been considered)
  • estimate the time each activity will take (another useful exercise the time taken will depend on the quality standard set and resources allocated)
  • plan which activities can be undertaken simultaneously and which have to be done sequentially (one after the other).
Having done this, managers can order the activities to identify the quickest way that the project can be completed by identifying what is known as the critical path. Managers can also identify the float time on other activities. The float time is the time that an activity can overrun without delaying the completing of the project as a whole.

On any activity the float time is calculated by the Earliest Start Time (EST) – duration – Latest Finish Time (LFT).

When you can use this

  • This topic links well to concepts of efficiency and lean production. By using network analysis managers can save time and order resources so they arrive just in time. This can improve cash flow.
  • The topic also links to delegation. Managers can delegate particular activities to others; they know when to start, how long they have and what to be finished. Progress can be monitored relative to targets.
  • You can consider what happens if a particular activity overruns and the consequences of this for the business.

Where it's been used

  • Q15, A-level paper 1, 2017
  • Q10, A-level paper 1, SAM set 1
  • Q11, A-level paper 1, SAM set 1

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