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Project Management Essay

Table of Contents
Activity on the node network diagram3
Determination of the timing of activities and the total float4 The project duration and the critical path………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………5 The earliest date the project can be completed given the starting date – Monday 7th May 2012………………………………………………………………..5 The effect on the duration of the whole project if:…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..5 Activity F is delayed by one day5

Activity N is delayed by one day6
Activity O is completed one day early ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..6 The limitations of Network diagrams……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..6

7| 5| 12|
| D| |
7| 0| 12|
1. Activity on the node network diagram
5| 2| 7|
| C| |
5| 0| 7|

0| 4| 4|
| A| |
0| 0| 4|
4| 1| 5|
| B| |
4| 0| 5|

12| 1| 13|
| E| |
21| 9| 22|
12| 6| 18|
| F| |
16| 4| 22|
12| 8| 20|
| G| |
14| 2| 22|
12| 10| 22|
| H| |
12| 0| 22|

22| 10| 32|
| I| |
22| 0| 32|

32| 4| 36|
| J| |
32| 0| 36|
36| 1| 37|
| K| |
45| 9| 46|

36| 6| 42|
| L| |
40| 4| 46|
36| 10| 46|
| M| |
36| 0| 46|
36| 2| 38|
| N| |
44| 8| 46|

46| 4| 50|
| O| |
46| 0| 50|
50| 1| 51|
| P| |
50| 0| 51|
51| 1| 52|
| Q| |
51| 0| 52|

Legend:
Earliest start time (EST)| Duration| Earliest finish time (EFT)| | Task | |
Latest start time (LST)| Total Float| Latest finish time (LFT)|
Critical Path The project duration: 52 days
A, B, C, D, H, I,J,M,O,P,Q

2. Determination of the timing of activities and the total float
The earliest start time (EST), the earliest time at which the node could be reached, and the earliest finish time (EFT), the latest time by which the node must be reached if the project is to finsh by its required completion date, are produced by a forward pass through the network. The first step of the forward pass is calculating the earliest start time, commencing from the unique project start node and finishing at the unique project completion node. The first task of the project is A, hence the earliest start time of task A may be set to zero since no information has been given as to the starting day of the task. The next step is determining the EFT, which is calculated by adding the EST to the duration of the task. Given the duration of every task, the proces of calculating the EFT of every task is quite straight forward assuming that the EST of every task is the EFT of the previous task. However, when it comes to a merge activity the largest value must be taken.

The latest event times, refering to the latest start time (LST) and the latest finish time (LFT), are the times when a particular task may commence without delaying the project duration and when the particular task may be completed without delaying the project duration. Usually such times are required when the project has an established target finish date. The latest event times are calculated using the backward pass technique. Such technique begins by determining the latest finish time of the last task of the project completion and works backwards to the start node. Since no inforamtion has been given regarding the target finish date of the project, the LFT of the project is equal to the EFT in which the project can be done. Hence, the LST can be calculated by subtracting theduration from the LFT. Working backwards, the LST of the previous task is to be the EFT of the task with the determined EST. It is important that when it comes to a merge activity the smallest value must be taken.

Once the LFT of every task is completed the total float can be calculated by the following formula:
Total float = latest time of finish event – earliest time of start event – duration

3. The project duration and the critical path
The project duration was determined by adding the EST of every task to the durtation of every task carried forward from one task to another. Hence, the longest path determines the duration of the project and therefore establishes the critical path since the longest necessary path through a network of activities when respecting their interdependencies is considered to be critical. Furthermore, the critical path may also be determined as the path with the least float. In fact, the critical path determined above has the least float (0) and the longest duration of the project (52 days).

4. The earliest date the project can be completed given the starting date – Monday 7th May 2012
The earliest finishing time of the project as established in the diagram is that of fifty two days. Given that the project can be completed using a five day working week, therefore it will take ten weeks and two days to complete the project. Calculating the weeks and days from the 7th of May 2012, the earliest date in which the project can be completed is on Tuesday 17th July 2012.

5. The effect on the duration of the whole project if:
a. Activity F is delyaed by one day.
The delay in activity F will not affect the duration of the whole project as such because the increase in duration will not exceed the total float of activity F, therefore does not exceed the duration of activity H which forms part of the critical path. Activity F can only affect the duration of the project if it delays by five days as it will surpass the amount of days that the activity is allowed to float.

b. Activity N is delayed by one day
The total float of activity N is that of eight days. Therefore, the amount of days that activity N will be delayed does not affect the duration of the project. In this case, in order for the duration of the projet to be effected the delay time of activity N has to be of nine days as it will surpass the duration of activity M which is part of the critical path.

c. Activity O is completed one day early
Given that the activity forms part of the critcal path, therefore the duration of the project will be affected not only by being completed early but also if the activity had to delay since the total float is that of zero. In this case, since the activity will be carried out one day sooner than expected, the project will be completed one day early and the duration of the project will be that of fifty one days instead of fifty two days.

6. The limitations of Network diagrams
In project managent network diagrams have several advantages when it comes to scheduling projects. One major advantage is that it helps project managers identify the most important activities which may affact the project schedule. However, such diagrams have also limitations to their use in scheduling a project. For large projects a network diagram may not be the ideal scheduling technique because of several activities and dependency relationships that can make the diagram complex to carry out and difficult for other employees to understand.

Furthermore, if the plan of the project changes during the completion of the project, the precendence network will have to be done all over again. In addition, such diagram therefore, may be considered as a time consuming technique. The techniuqe may also take too much to identify all activities and inter-relate them to multiple project paths.

Network diagrams may also not be suitable for first time projects because if project cannot be broken down into distinctive activities with known duratrion for every activity then the precendence diagram cannot be drawn. The most critical factor is the duration because on a new project the duration for certain activities may be difficult to estimate, hence the network diagram may be far from actual.

Another limitation of network diagrams is when a shift of resource occurs. When the network diagram encounters re-allocation of resources such as employees being transfered from one acvtiviy to another, the activity completion time may be changed because of stoppage or other relevant reasons and the plan of the project may be disrupted.

A network diagram may consist of parallel paths with the same durations. This is considered to be a problem within such diagram because project teams may find it diffuclt to chooose the most critical activities, hence create uncertainty on which path will be the critical path within the project. This may also cause the project teams to disagree as one team may choose one path to be critical and the another team may choose the other path to be the critical path.


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