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184
T
EACHING
S
UGGESTIONS
Teaching Suggestion 13.1:
Importance of PERT.
PERT has rebounded and, due to PC software such as Microsoft
Project, become a highly used quantitative analysis technique. It
can be useful for organizations of all sizes and any individuals in
volved in planning and controlling projects. A good way to start
this chapter is to discuss the capabilities of PERT. Students can be
asked to contact a local Frm (such as a builder) to ask about the
use of PERT.
Teaching Suggestion 13.2:
Getting Students Involved with PERT.
PERT is a technique that students can apply immediately. ±or ex
ample, students can be asked to use PERT to plan the courses they
will need to take and the timing of taking these courses until grad
uation. Another approach would be to have students take a typical
semester and use PERT to plan the term papers, exams, and
assignments that must be Fnished to successfully complete the
semester.
Teaching Suggestion 13.3:
Constructing a Network.
One of the most difFcult tasks of PERT or CPM is to develop an
accurate network that re²ects the true situation. Students should be
given practice in this important aspect of network analysis as early
as possible. Use the endofchapter problems. Students can be
asked to develop their own networks. We can’t stress enough the
importance of drawing networks, since many students have a con
ceptual problem with the task.
Teaching Suggestion 13.4:
Using the Beta Distribution.
PERT uses the beta distribution in estimating expected times and
variances for each activity. As a matter of fact, it is questionable
whether the beta distribution is appropriate. Students should be
told that other distributions such as the normal curve can be used.
A discrete probability distribution can also be used to determine
expected times and variances. Instead of using optimistic, most
likely, and pessimistic time estimates, an entire discrete distribu
tion can be used to determine expected times and variances.
Teaching Suggestion 13.5:
Finding the Critical Path.
±inding the critical path is not too difFcult if the steps given in this
chapter are followed. Students should be reminded that in making
the forward pass
all
activities must be completed before any activ
ity can be started. In the backward pass, students should be
reminded that latest time is computed by making sure that the pro
ject would not be delayed for any activity. This means that
all
ac
tivities must be completed within the original project completion
time.
Teaching Suggestion 13.6:
Project Crashing.
In manually performing project crashing, the critical path may
change. In many cases, two or more critical paths will exist after
crashing. Students should be reminded of this problem. ±ortu
nately, the linear programming approach or the use of PERT soft
ware, including QM for Windows, automatically takes care of this
potential problem.
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 Spring '11
 MichaelHanna

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