Joe has been managing his project now for more than 12 months and is becoming concerned with how far behind the schedule it is slipping. Through a series of mishaps, late supplier deliveries, bad weather, and other unforeseen circumstances, the project has experienced one delay after another. Although the original plan called for the project to be completed within the next four months, Joe’s site supervisor is confident that BCC cannot possibly make that completion date. Late completion of the project has some severe consequences, both for BCC and for Joe. For the company, a series of
penalty clauses kick in for every week the project is late past the contracted completion date. For Joe personally, late completion of his first project assignment can be very damaging to his career.
Joe has just finished a meeting with his direct supervisor to determine what options he has at this
point. The good news is that the BCC bid for the construction project came with some additional profit
margin above what is common in the industry, so Joe’s boss has given him some “wiggle room” in the form of $30,000 in discretionary budget money if needed. The bad news is that the delivery date for the project is fixed and cannot be altered without incurring substantial penalties, something BCC is not prepared to accept. The message to Joe is clear: he can spend some additional money, but he cannot have any extra time. Joe has just called a meeting with the site supervisor and other key project team members to discuss the possibility of crashing the remaining project activities. He calculates that crashing most of the final activities will bring them in close to the original contracted completion date but at a substantial cost. He needs to weigh these options carefully with his team members to determine if crashing makes sense.
1. What are some of the issues that weigh in favor of and against crashing the project?
2. Suppose you were the site supervisor for this project. How would you advise Joe to proceed? Before
deciding whether or not to crash the project, what questions should you consider and how should
Do you evaluate your options?
MS Project Exercises
Suppose we have a complete activity predecessor table below and we wish to create a network diagram highlighting the activity sequence for this project. Using MS Project, enter activities A through E, their durations, and their predecessors. Note that all duration times are in days.
We can do it today.
Project: Remodeling an Appliance
Activity Duration Predecessors
A Conduct competitive analysis 3 —
B Review field sales reports 2 —
C Conduct tech capabilities assessment 5 —
D Develop focus group data 2 A, B, C
E Conduct telephone surveys 3 D Activity Duration Predecessors
F Identify relevant specification improvements 3 E
G Interface with marketing staff 1 F
H Develop engineering specifications 5 G
I Check and debug designs 4 H
J Develop testing protocol 3 G
K Identify critical performance levels 2 J
L Assess and modify product components 6 I, K
M Conduct capabilities assessment 12 L
N Identify selection criteria 3 M
O Develop RFQ 4 M
P Develop production master schedule 5 N, O
Q Liaise with sales staff 1 P
R Prepare product launch 3 Q
Now, continue developing your Gantt chart with the rest of the information contained in the table in Exercise 10.19, and create a complete activity network diagram for this project.
Identify the critical path for the project shown in Exercise 10.19. How can you identify the critical path? (Hint: Click on the “Tracking Gantt” option.)
Suppose that we wish to incorporate lag relationships into our Remodeling an Appliance activity network. Consider the table shown below and the lag relationships noted. Develop an MS Project Gantt chart that demonstrates these lags.
Activity Duration Lag Relationship
A Wiring 6 None
B Plumbing 2 None
C HVAC 3 Wiring (Finish to Start), Plumbing (Finish to Finish)
D Interior construction 6 HVAC (Start to Start)
PMP CERTIFICATION SAMPLE QUESTIONS
10.24 The IT implementation project is bogging down and falling behind schedule. The department heads are complaining that the project cannot help them if it is not implemented in a reasonable time frame. Your project manager is considering putting extra resources to work on activities along the critical path to accelerate the schedule. This is an example of what?
a. Rebase lining
c. Fast-tracking the project
d. Identifying critical dependencies
10.25. Dummy variables are used in what kind of network diagramming method?
b. Gantt charts
10.26. Suppose you evaluated the best-case, most likely, and worst-case duration estimates for an activity and determined that they were 3 days, 4 days, and 8 days, respectively. Using PERT estimation techniques, what would be the expected duration for the activity?
a. 4 days
b. 8 days
c. 5 days
d. 4.5 days
10.27. Suppose you created your activity network and discovered that you had two critical paths in your project. You share this information with another project manager, who strongly argues that a project can have only one critical path; therefore, your calculations are incorrect. What is the correct response to his assertion?
a. A project can have more than one critical path, although having multiple critical paths is also likely
to increase the risk of the project falling behind.
b. Your coworker is correct: a project can have only one critical path. You need to return to the network and determine where you erred in developing the network logic and diagram.
c. The critical path is the shortest path through the network, so having more than one is not a significant problem.
d. A project can have more than one critical path, although having multiple critical paths is actually
likely to decrease the overall risk of the project.
10.28. Which of the following circumstances would require the creation of a lag relationship in a network diagram?
a. The critical path
b. The insertion of a dummy variable into a network diagram
c. A delay after painting a room to allow for the paint to dry before beginning to carpet the room’s floor
d. An early finish relationship between two activities
10.29. The goal of project crashing is to:
a. Reduce the schedule by minimizing project risks
b. Reduce the schedule without changing the project scope
c. Reduce project costs
d. Expand the schedule to embrace multiple critical paths
10.30. You have been directed by your boss to find ways to shrink the project schedule. The boss is also insisting on lowering project costs at the same time. What would be an appropriate response to these twin demands?
a. Show the boss that these are almost always opposing goals by demonstrating a “Cost vs. Days Saved” diagram to explain the implications of crashing the project activities on schedule and costs
b. Agree to the boss’s wishes and recalculate the schedule with shorter durations
c. Agree to the boss’s wishes and find cheaper resources to do the work
d. Go to top management to adjudicate the disagreement
10.31. What is the difference between a Gantt chart and a milestone chart?
a. There is no difference; they are synonymous terms
b. A Gantt chart is a project plan and a milestone chart is not
c. A milestone chart is a project plan and a Gantt chart is not
d. A milestone chart shows only major events; a Gantt chart shows more schedule information
10.32. Schedule constraints would usually include all of the following EXCEPT:
a. Lead times and lag times
b. Key events
c. Major milestones
d. Imposed dates
10.33. Leads and lags are evaluated and, if necessary, modified as part of which process?
a. Scope development
b. Duration estimating
c. Analogous cost estimating
d. Schedule development
10.24. b—Accelerating the project by adding resources to critical activities are referred to as “crashing” the project,
10.25. c—Dummy variables are employed in Activity-on-Arrow (AOA) network diagrams.
10.26. d—PERT estimation would lead to the calculation (3 + (4 * 4) + 8)/6 = 27/6 or 4.5 days.
10.27. a—Having more than one critical path is possible; however, the more activities that exist on the critical path(s), the greater the risk to the project’s schedule because delays in any critical activities will delay the completion of the project.
10.28. c—Allowing for the paint to dry before beginning the next activity is an example of a lag relationship occurring between activities.
10.29. b—Reduce the schedule without changing the scope.
10.30. a—The first step in responding to the boss is to calculate the crashing costs per activity to show the relationship between “dollars spent and days saved”.
10.31. d—Milestone charts are used for summary purposes, showing major project events, and Gantt charts have more interdependency information.
10.32. a—Lead times and lag times are not usually included in schedule constraints.
10.33. d—Leads and lags are inserted and modified as part of the schedule development process.