It may be helpful here to ask students to compare the effort they believe necessary to manage this project to the effort they believe required to actually perform the physical tasks. Total cost might be a useful unit of comparison. One might expect the management cost to run 10% - 20% of the total.
It is helpful here to provide an expanded discussion of the activities.
A useful project management technique must contribute in all areas.
If students have been assigned a term project, this material can be covered early in the semester and the students asked to develop a plan for their project.
Students should be asked to explain why these requirements are appropriate.
This may be a good time to look, at least briefly, at alternative organizational structures. Certainly hierarchical and matrix structures should be examined. The role of information technology in each of the alternatives should be examined. The following several slides illustrate various organizational structures.
Given that a project is something the firm is relatively unfamiliar with, how does one go about determining the appropriate costs and times? You might point out that specifying the beginning and end points for an activity is often a difficult task. Work breakdown may be the most difficult aspect of many projects.
You might point out to students that there are those who claim that the real benefit of using project management tools comes from the planning and organizing effort, not the actual management of the tasks during the project.
As you discuss the various project scheduling techniques, you should include at least: - the basic assumptions of the technique - problems typically encountered in applying it - the nature of the effort required to keep the tool current - sources of problems - the nature of the decisions supported by the tool - the nature of the management effort and cost associated with using the tool.
What circumstances lead the two organizations to develop different, yet similar tools for the management of complex projects? In your discussion of PERT/CPM, you should probably note that PERT helps us identify critical tasks/activities and look at the probability of completing the project by a given date; CPM helps us analyze the cost/time tradeoffs possible if we need to speed the project up.
Students should be informed that an alternate representation where the node represents the activity, and the arrow the event are also used. The notation illustrated here comes from PERT; the alternate from CPM.
It should be noted here that a dummy activity is required because of the way in which PERT/CPM models are represented in the computer.
In your discussion of activity times, you should probably at least make note of the difference between “most likely” and “average” or “ expected” completion times.
This and the next several slides illustrate the definitions of terms appropriate to critical path analysis. There are many opportunities for good managers to truly manage a project once they have a PERT network established. For instance, sub-contractors know early start and late start times and the managers know the activities on the critical path upon which to focus effort.
This and the following slide illustrate the translation of Early and Late Start and Finish time to Gantt charts.
There are those that argue that the Polaris could not have been built without the use of project management techniques (PERT).
Another issue with respect to the use of PERT/CPM is the cost and amount of management time require to keep the system up to date.