How to create the critical pathway

Here's how to create a critical pathway, illustrated with the simple example of "grilling a steak":

  1. Define the starting and resulting situation. What outcome is the path meant to produce? Where does the path need to begin?
    1. Starting situation: raw steak
    2. Resulting situation: charcoal-grilled steak, medium rare
  2. Describe the characteristics of the resulting outcome. What has changed between the starting and the resulting situation?
    1. The steak is:
      1. Grilled on both sides
      2. At a temperature of 270° F
      3. Seasoned with salt and pepper
      4. Grey towards the borders and pink in the middle
      5. Served on a plate
  3. List out the causes of each change. What caused the change to come about?
    1. Bringing to room temperature and then placing each side on a grill heated (with charcoal) to a temperature of 350° F
    2. Resting for 25 minutes after grilling
    3. Marinating with salt half an hour before grilling; seasoning with pepper after resting; basting with butter during grilling
    4. Grilling for between 5 - 7 minutes on each side
    5. Placing on a plate after resting
  4. Order the causes in a logical sequence. What is the sequence in which the changes need to occur?Critical pathway for grilling a steak:
    1. Marinating the steak with salt
    2. Letting the steak marinate at room temperature
    3. Placing charcoal in the grill
    4. Firing up the charcoal
    5. Nursing the charcoal to 350° F
    6. Placing side A of the steak on the grill for 5 minutes
    7. Basting side A with butter
    8. Placing side B of the steak on the grill for 5 minutes
    9. Basting side B with butter
    10. Removing the steak from the grill
    11. Placing the steak on a plate to rest
    12. Seasoning with pepper
    13. Serving the steak

Note: The critical pathway is just a starting point in Path Design. To fully support this path, each step must be treated as a sub-outcome in itself — changes are made of changes.