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Chapter 5

Scheduling the Project

This chapter covers the topic of scheduling, probably the most extensively covered subject dealing with project management. In addition to the usual PERT and CPM networks, Gantt charts, etc., the subject of project uncertainty and risk management is also discussed. The use of computer simulation and Crystal Ball to generate the approximate distribution of project completion times to help better understand the implications associated with schedule uncertainty is also discussed.

Cases and Readings

A case appropriate to the subject of this chapter is:

Harvard: 9-613-021 Arrow Diagramming Exercise This 3-page case describes the marketing campaign for a newly developed industrial hardware item. Over two-dozen activities are noted and described. The case asks for the network diagram and critical path.

A reading appropriate to the subject of this chapter is:

L.P. Leach. Critical Chain Project Management Improves Project Performance (Project Management Journal, June 1999, p. 39-51). This article explains the procedures developed by E. Goldratt in his Critical Chain approach to project management. Includes a discussion of project and feeder buffers. Projects using the critical chain often report significantly improved schedule, cost, and scope performance.

Answers to Review Questions

1. How would a PM managecritical path tasks differently than noncritical tasks?

By definition, critical tasks are those tasks that if delayed will delay the completion of the entire project. Therefore, these tasks should be managed more closely than non-critical tasks.

In cases where the activity times are not known with certainty, the tasks assumed to be critical at the beginning of the project may turn out not to be so critical. Therefore, when tasks times are uncertain, all tasks that may...

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