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Utilizing PERT-CPM techniques could ease the process of management, and help the team complete the project on time. By properly allocating tasks and scheduling activities, the managerial process can be streamlined to achieve more consistent results. This paper will provide an example of a mixed activity project, answer the questions required to use PERT-CPM, and will cover a personal experience I had with an allocation problem.
A Project That is Both Consecutive and Concurrent
Consecutive activities need to be done in order, while Concurrent can be done at the same time. However, some projects contain a mix of both (Mazlum, & Güneri, 2015). For example, a project that focuses on repairing an old sound system from the 1970s. The main consecutive activity of the project is the deconstruction of the sound system. It has to be taken apart in a specific order, to not break any of the fragile components. Concurrently, the team can order the required replacement parts; they can clean the parts of the system that have been taken out of it in the deconstruction process, and apply restorative techniques to the outer shell of the sound system. When parts arrive, they have to be put in place of the broken ones, which is also a consecutive activity because some parts have to be put in place before others.
Before PERT-CPM can be utilized, some questions have to be answered (Vanhoucke, 2013). The previous example of sound system repair can be used to answer them.
To what extent can the project be broken down into discrete tasks? How should that breakdown happen?
The project can be broken down into five distinct tasks: deconstruction, purchase of parts, cleaning, repair, and reconstruction.
To what extent are the tasks sequentially dependent?
Deconstruction has to happen first, to analyze the state of the sound system, and decide which parts need to be replaced. The repair has to happen before reconstruction and after the parts arrive. Cleaning and purchase of parts can be done anywhere between deconstruction and reconstruction.
How accurately are the task durations known?
Most task durations are known, but the time for the arrival of parts can vary, depending on the supplier.
How accurately are the task costs known?
The task costs will become evident after deconstruction, but an estimated cost is known due to previous knowledge of the price of the parts.
Are the start date and the deadline “set in stone,” or merely aspirational?
The deadline is set in stone because the scene takes place in an electronics repair shop.
Personal Experience with an Allocation Problem
I had experienced an allocation problem when I was helping my friend move. He did not have a car with a big trunk, so I decided to help him bring over some of his boxes to the new apartment. His new place was a few blocks away, so I wanted to save gas by loading as many items as possible to reduce the number of trips from his old place to the new one. So my desired outcome was to move all the boxes in the least amount of trips. My constraints were the space in my trunk and back seat. By utilizing the maximum amount of space, I was able to reduce the number of trips to an optimum number of 2 (Kaplan, & Atkinson, 2015).
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PERT-CPM is a useful tool for the management of complex projects. By answering the required questions, the manager can decide the future course of action, scheduling, and task allocation. In their daily life, people encounter projects that can be optimized using this tool.
Kaplan, R., & Atkinson, A. (2015). Advanced management accounting. Dehli, India: PHI Learning.
Mazlum, M., & Güneri, A. (2015). CPM, PERT and project management with fuzzy logic technique and implementation on a business. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 210(7), 348-357, Web.
Vanhoucke, M. (2013). Project Management with Dynamic Scheduling. Berlin, Germany: Springer.