Project scheduling and the project life cycle

Project scheduling and the project life cycle



Project scheduling and the project life cycle

Chapter 16: Project Management


This chapter explains the need for project scheduling and the project life cycle.  The methods of PERT and CPM are explained and demonstrated with examples.  Crashing the project to reduce its completion time is explained.  Finally, the authors present Critical Chain Project Management, which is a technique based on the Theory of Constraints. 

Answers to Discussion Questions in Textbook

  1. Identify some projects that are currently underway in your community.  Is there a new hospital being built, a new retail store being opened, highway construction being done?  For at least one project, try to identify the major activities.


Kohl’s department store has moved into the Long Island area.  In doing so, they purchased buildings that had been retail stores before the stores closed down.  First, they had to either purchase or lease the building.  They then needed to hook up all the utilities.  They needed to buy stock and shelves for the store, and decide on a store layout.  They also had to hire and train staff. 

  1. Visit a local organization.  Learn about the kinds of projects they are working on and how they can manage these projects.


This answer will depend on the area in which the university is located.  Some general examples will be listed in my answer.  Churches manage the projects of preparing for Sunday masses and charity events, such as craft or amusement fairs.  Software companies manage software development or revision projects.  Consulting companies manage the projects of the work they do for various organizations.  Construction projects, which are numerous, include road resurfacing, building apartments, businesses and homes.  Professors work on research projects, and develop and administer surveys. 

  1. Identify a personal project that you have recently completed or are in the process of completing – for example, a research paper, or organizing a social event.  Identify the major activities that you had to complete.


I moved about a year ago.  I had to find a place to rent.  I put a deposit on the new place.  I hired movers to pack and move my belongings.  I filled out and turned in a change of address form for the post office.  I placed calls to shut off utilities at the old place and turn them on at the new place.  I notified friends, family and companies (credit cards, magazines, etc.) of the new address information.  I had to clean the old and new places.  Finally, I had to unpack and organize my belongings at the new apartment.

  1. Explain the advantage of using probabilistic time estimates. 


The advantage of using probabilistic time estimates is due to the fact that the range of possible project completion times can be calculated.  It is helpful to know the range if a project has activities with uncertain time estimates, which frequently occurs in reality.

  1. Explain how we calculate the expected time value.


First, we must obtain three estimates of the time it will take to complete an activity: the most likely time, an optimistic time (the activity will almost always take at least this long), and a pessimistic time. Then, as the estimate is based upon the beta distribution, we calculate the expected time by addingh the optimistic, pessimistic and 4 times the most likely time and then dividing by 6.


  1. Explain the phases of a project’s life cycle.

The phases of a project’s life cycle are conception, feasibility analysis or study, planning, execution, and termination.  Conception is the phase where the need for a project is identified.  Feasibility analysis or study is the evaluation of the expected costs, benefits or risks of the project.  Planning involves the determination of the project tasks and their time estimates.  The execution phase is the actual completion of the project tasks.  Finally, termination is the end of the project.

  1. Describe the life cycle of a project you have done.


The conception phase was initiated when the need to move was identified.  Feasibility analysis involved determining estimates of the costs of deposits and moving expenses.  This analysis also includes the determination of the expected benefits of living in a larger home and being in a nicer area, where it is quiet and close to nature.  In addition, I evaluated the risk that some items may be lost or broken in the moving process.  In the planning phase, I created a list of all activities, along with their respective time estimates.  In the execution phase, I completed all tasks, such as finding a realtor, signing a lease for a new home, and the actual move itself.  Finally, the move was completed in the termination phase.

  1. Provide an example of precedence relationships from your personal life.


The job search is one type of project that I have completed.  A resume cannot be sent to the prospective employer until it has been created.  An interview cannot be scheduled until the employer has received a resume.  The interview must precede the job offer.  Negotiations concerning the salary and benefits cannot be completed until the job offer has been made.

  1. Explain why determining the critical path is important in project management.


Determining the critical path is important because the critical path determines the minimum amount of time the project will take unless the project is crashed.  The expected project completion time is equal to the length of the critical path time since the critical path is the longest path of activities in the network in terms of time.  The critical path is the set of activities that are most critical to successfully completing the project. 



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Project scheduling and the project life cycle


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Project scheduling and the project life cycle



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Project scheduling and the project life cycle