Fundamentals Of Project Management

Also offers guidance on how the project should be

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Unformatted text preview: d as a tool, and managers should not become slaves to the tool. It is also very easy to create schedules that look good on paper but won’t work in practice. The main reason this occurs is a lack of resources with which to do the work when it comes due. In fact, unless resource allocation is handled properly, schedules are next to useless. Fortunately, today’s scheduling software handles resource allocation fairly well. I leave discussion of the methods used to the software manuals and in this book simply examine how networks are used to show us where we need to manage. I am often told that scope and priorities change so often in a given organization that it doesn’t make sense to spend time finding critical paths. There are two points worth considering here. One is that if scope is changing often in a project, not enough time is being spent doing up-front definition and planning. Scope changes most often occur because something is forgotten during the planning stage. Better attention to what is being done in the beginning usually reduces scope creep. Second, if priorities are changing often, management does not have its act together, and the organization may be trying to tackle too much work for the number of resources available. We all have “wish lists” of things we personally want to do, but we have to put some of them on hold until time and/or money become available. The same is true of organizations. Experience shows that when individuals are working on many projects, productivity suffers. For example, one company found that when it stopped having people work on multiple projects, their productivity doubled! That obviously is highly significant. DEFINITIONS OF NETWORK TERMS activity An activity always consumes time and may also consume resources. Examples include paperwork, labor, negotiations, machinery operations, and lead times for purchased parts or equipment. critical An activity or event that must be achieved by a certain time, having no latitude (slack or float) whatsoever. critical path The critical path is the longest path through a network and determines the earliest completion of project work. event Beginning and ending points of activities are known as events. An event is a specific point in time. Events are commonly denoted graphically by a circle and may carry identity nomenclature (words, numbers, alpha-numeric codes, etc.). milestone An event that represents a point in a project of special significance, usually the completion of a major phase of the work. A project review is often conducted at that time. network Networks are called arrow diagrams. They provide a graphical representation of a project plan showing the relationships of the activities. What does CPM have to do with this? Knowing where the critical path is in a project allows you to determine the impact on the project of a scope or priority change. You know which activities will be affected most severely and what might need to be done to regain los...
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This document was uploaded on 09/27/2013.

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