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Chapter 9: Project Scheduling
Lesson 27 – Scheduling Project
Learning Objectives After reading this lesson you would be able to understand how to
Identify activity slack Identify the critical activities and duration of the project
Find probability of completion of a project in a given time
A crucial aspect of project management is estimating the time of completion. If each activity in relocating the hospital (considered in the previous lesson) were done in sequence, with work proceeding on only one activity at a time, the time of completion would equal the sum f the times for all the activities.
Figure 27.1 AON Network for the Metro Hospital Project showing activity times
However, Figure 27.1 indicates that some activities can be carried on simultaneously given adequate resources. Each sequence of activities between the project’s start and finish is called a path. The network describing the hospital relocation project has five paths: A-I-K, A-F-K, A-C-G-J-K, B-D-H-J-K, and B-E-J-K. The critical path is the sequence of activities between a project’s start and finish that takes the longest time to complete. Thus, the activities along the critical path determine the completion time of the project; that is, if one of the activities on the critical path is delayed, the entire project will be delayed. The estimated times for the paths in the hospital project network are Path Time (wk) A-F-K A-I-K A-C-G-J-K B-D-H-J-K B-E-J-K Estimated 28 33 67 69 43
The activity string B-D-H-J-K is estimated to take 69 weeks to complete. As the longest, it constitutes the critical path and is shown in bold in Figure 27.1. Because the critical path defines the completion time of the project, project team should focus on these activities. However, projects can have more than one critical path. Manually finding the critical path in this way is easy for small projects; however, computer must be used for large projects. Computers calculate activity slack and prepare periodic reports, enabling managers to monitor progress. Activity slack is the maximum length of time that an activity can be delayed without delaying the entire project. Activities on the critical path have zero slack. Constantly monitoring the progress of activities with little or no slack enables managers to identify activities that need to be expedited to keep the project on schedule. Activity slack is calculated from four times for each activity: earliest start time, earliest finish time, latest start time, and latest finish time. Earliest start and finish time The earliest start and finish times of an activity are based on the condition that every activity will be started and finished as early as possible. The earliest start and earliest finish times are obtained as follows. The earliest finish time (EF) of an activity equals its earliest start time plus its estimated duration, t, or EF = ES + t. The earliest start time (ES) for an activity is the earliest finish
time of the immediately preceding activity. For activities with more than one preceding activity, ES is the latest of the earliest finish times of the preceding activities. To calculate the duration of the entire project, we determine the EF for the last activity on the critical path. Calculations of the earliest start and finish times for the activities in the hospital project. We begin at the start node at time zero. Because activities A and B have no predecessors, the earliest start times for these activities are also zero. The earliest finish times for these activities are EFA = 0 + 12 = 12 and EFB = 0 + 9 = 9 Because the earliest start time for activities I, F, and C is the earliest finish time of activity A, ESI = 12, ESF = 12, ESC = 12 Similarly, ESD = 9 and ESE = 9 After placing these ES values on the network diagram as shown in Figure 27.2, we determine the EF times for activities I, F, C, D, and E; EFI = 12 + 15 = 27, EFF = 12 + 10 = 22, EFC = 12 + 10 = 22 EFD = 9 + 10 = 19, and EFE = 9 + 24 = 33 The earliest start time for activity G is the latest EF time of all immediately preceding activities. Thus, ESG = EFC = 22, ESH = EFD = 19, EFG = ESG + t = 22 + 35 = 57 , EFH = ESH + t = 19 + 40 = 59
Figure 27.2 Network for the Hospital Project, showing ES and EF times Latest Start and Latest Finish Times To obtain the latest start and latest finish times, we must work backward from the finish node. We start by setting the latest finish time of the project equal to the earliest finish time of the last activity on the critical path. The latest finish time (LF) for an activity is the latest start time of the activity immediately following it. For activities with more than one activity immediately following, LF is the earliest of the latest start times of those activities. The latest start time (LS) for an activity equals its latest finish time minus its estimated duration, t, or LS = LF – t. Calculations of latest start and finish Times
For the same hospital project, the latest finish activity time of activity K is 69th week. Thus the latest start time for activity K is LSK = LFK – t = 69 – 6 = 63 If activity K is to start no later than week 63, all its predecessors must finish no later than that time. Consequently, LF1 = 63, LEF = 63, and LFj = 63 The latest start times for these activities are shown in Figure 27.3 as LSI = 63 – 15 = 48, LSF = 63 – 10 = 53, and LSJ = 63 – 4 = 59 After obtaining LSJ, we can calculate the latest start times for the immediate predecessors of activity J: LSG = 59 – 35 = 24, LSH = 59 – 40 = 19, and LSE = 59 – 24 = 35 Similarly, we can now calculate latest start times for activities C and D: LSC = 24 – 10 = 14 and LSD = 19 – 10 = 9 Activity A has more than one immediately following activity – I, F, and C. The earliest of the latest start times I 14 for activity C. Thus, LSA = 14 – 12 = 2 Similarly, activity B has two immediate followers, D and E. Because the earliest of the latest start times of these activities is 9, LSB = 9 – 9 = 0
Figure 27.3 Network for the hospital project, showing latest start and finish times Determination of the float For every critical activity in a network, the earliest start and the latest start times are the same. Since the critical activities cannot be scheduled later than their earliest schedule time, without delaying the project duration, they do not exhibit any flexibility in scheduling. However, while exercising control over time, resources, or cost it is necessary to know as to what flexibility exists for scheduling the non-critical activities of the project. The flexibility is seen in terms of the float or slack that any activity has. The critical activities of a project have no float. There are four types of float that has identified. These are – total float, interfering float, free float, and independent float.
The Total float of an activity represents the amount of time by which it can be delayed without delaying the project completion date. It is the difference between the total time available for the performance of an activity and the time required for its performance. It is calculated as Total Float = latest finish time – earliest finish time = latest start time – earliest start time = LS – ES = LF – EF The Interfering float is the part of the total float, which causes a reduction in the float of the successor activities. It is the difference between the latest finish time of the activity and the earliest starting time of the following activity, or zero, whichever is larger. The Free float is the part of the total float, which can be used without affecting the float of the succeeding activities. It is calculated as the earliest start time for the following activity minus the earliest completion time for this activity. The Independent float time of an activity is the amount of float time, which can be used without affecting either the head or the tail events. It represents the amount of float time available for an activity when its preceding activities are completed at their latest and its succeeding activities begin at their earliest time – leaving the minimum time available for its performance. It is calculated as Independent float = (earliest start time for the following activity) (latest finish time for the preceding activity) – (duration of the present activity). We will take an example to make this calculation clearer. Table 27.1 Determination of Earliest and Latest times, and floats
Activity Duration Earliest Start Finish Latest Start Finish Total Float Interfering Free independent
i-j 1-2 1-3 1-4 2-5 3-5 3-6
tij 2 7 8 3 6 10
ES 0 0 0 2 7 7
EF 2 7 8 5 13 17
LS 9 0 3 11 8 7
LF 11 7 11 14 14 17
Ft 9 0 3 9 1 0
Fint 9 0 3 1 1 0
Ff 0 0 0 8 0 0
Find 0 0 0 0 0 0
3-7 4-6 5-7 6-8 7-8
4 6 2 5 6
7 8 13 17 15
11 14 15 22 21
12 11 14 17 16
16 17 16 22 22
5 3 1 0 1
1 0 1 0 0
4 3 0 0 1
4 0 0 0 0
In the case of PERT, once the expected time of the activities are obtained, the critical path of the project network is determined using these time estimates. Having found the critical path, the pert methodology assumes that the aggregation of the mean times and the summation of the variances of critical jobs would yield the project duration expected and its variance. Using Central Limit Theorem which states that the sum of several independent activity durations will tend to be normally distributed, with a mean equal to the sum of their individual job times and the variance equal to the sum of their individual activity variances. Accordingly, the probability distribution of times for completing a project can be approximated by using a normal distribution curve which becomes more exact as the number of activities increases. Estimates using the curve can be fairly exact if and when there are at least 30 activities along a given path. If for a given project, if the critical activities are 1, 2, ……, k, we have, Te = te1 + te2 + te3 + …… + tek, and VT or σT2 = σ12 + σ22 + σ32 + ……. + σk2 The distribution of the project completion times is then, normally distributed with µ = Te and σT This can be used to determine the probability of completing the project by a given date, or during a given time interval. Let us take an example now. Example The owner of a chain of fast-food restaurants is considering a new computer system for accounting and inventory control. A computer company sent the following information about the system installation
Activity Identificati on Activity Description Immediate Predecessor Most Optimistic Time Most Likely Time Most Pessimisti c Time
A B C D
Select the computer model Design input/output system Design monitoring system Assemble computer hardware
A A B
4 5 4 15
6 7 8 20
8 15 12 25
E F G H I
Develop the main programs Develop input/output routines Create data base Install the system Test and implement
B C E D, F G, H
10 8 4 1 6
18 9 8 2 7
26 16 12 3 8
First we construct the network diagram as shown below.
Fig 27.4 Network diagram The calculation of expected time for each activity and variance is shown in the following table Activity A B C D E F G H I a 4 5 4 15 10 8 4 1 6 Time m 6 7 8 20 18 9 8 2 7 b 8 15 12 25 26 16 12 3 8 te = 6 8 8 20 18 10 8 2 7
a + 4m + b 6
σ= 4/6 10/6 8/6 10/6 16/6 8/6 8/6 2/6 2/6
σ2 4/9 25/9 16/9 25/9 64/9 16/9 16/9 1/9 1/9
Using the expected time of activity duration, we obtain the critical path as 1-2-3-5-7-8. Thus, we have the expected project length, Te = 6 + 8 + 18 + 8 + 7 = 47 days, And the variance of the project length, VT = 4/9 + 25/9 + 64/9 + 16/9 + 1/9 =110/9 Now, the project duration being normally distributed with mean (Te) = 47 days and standard deviation σ = √Vt = √110/9 = 3.496 days, we can determine the probability of the project being completed in 55 days. This would be equal to the area under the normal curve lying to the left of X = 55, as shown in Figure 27.5. We have, Z – (55 – 47)/3.496 = 2.89 From the normal area table, the area between mean and z = 2.89 under the normal curve is found to be equal to 0.4981. Thus the required probability = 0.5 + 0.4981 = 0.9981.
Fig. 27.5 Distribution of project duration
With that, we have come to the end of today’s discussions. I hope it has been an enriching and satisfying experience. Points to ponder
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