Have you ever not been able to see the forest for the trees? It happens, Monkeys in the Middle get lost in the jungle every day. The key to getting (or staying) on track is finding your critical path. How do you find your critical path? I think you will discover it was there the whole time; you just need to draw the map! The critical path is simply the list of tasks that are serially dependant on one another. These tasks are called critical tasks, and for every day one of these tasks is delayed, it delays the entire project by the same number of days. (In other words, the critical path will show you the minimum time to project completion.)
One tool for mapping your critical path is a Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) chart. In this chart you map the tasks on your critical path and the tasks required (though they may be in parallel) to complete the critical tasks.
The above image is an example of a PERT chart, showing the critical tasks or milestones and the time required to complete them. The Critical Path is in red, and the parallel tasks are simply those tasks required to finish one of the critical tasks. This particular project will take 11 weeks to complete at a minimum. You will find that by using a visual tool such as a PERT chart, you will better be able to see areas of concern before they become issues, and keep your project on track. The monkey who first said the opening line of this article did not map their critical path! A PERT Chart is the key to navigating the jungle!