An Overview Of The Project Planning Education Essay

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According to Wang, Y.R., and Gibson, E.G (2009) Project planning is “the process of developing sufficient strategic information with which owners can address risk and decide to commit resources to maximize the chance for a successful project”. However, All of these engage people, and it is the people within any organization who are the key to the accomplishment of any project; no matter how well calculated, intended, or well designed, without appropriate consideration of the application of knowledge, tools, skills and techniques to project requirement, it seems like project are unsuccessful. Project management has still survived in theory for century with its information application by the Egyptians and Chinese in such achievement as the Great Wall and Pyramids. However, modern project management is a contemporary phenomenon acquiring initial acceptance in the fast expansion of the information technology industry (Fox, 2004). Technical competency means the proficiency to use project management tools and methods to carry out projects. Cadle, J. & Yeates, D. (2001, p.1) said information systems are only tools to enable a project manager to take enhanced decision, so getting the dedication of the people who will utilize the system is central to the success of project. Hyvari, Irja (2005) found that was between 1969 to 2004 project management tools had been used 92%, whereas for project planning 96%, General work planning and preventions 60%, and Project control 76%. As a tool Microsoft Project was the most used 44%, also includes Primavera Project Planner, Project Workbench, and Microsoft Excel and others.

However, it is aimed this report to define and describe some key tools and techniques (Gantt chart, PERT (Program Evaluate and Review Techniques), WBS (Work Break Down Structure), and network based methods for representing project AOA (Activity on Arrow), AON (Activity on Node) which make easy to project manager to planning a project with make obvious how these tools and techniques useful and applied in real world situation with proper diagram and examples.

WBS (Work Breakdown Structure):

An IT project manager cannot, and should not, do each and every peach of work in a project. On some project it would be individually impossible for one person to do every assignment. Obviously, with a project team a project manager can assign, delegate, and pass on task to team members and let them get to work. But how will the members know if their assigned tasks can start on before other team members task finish? A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) would let a project manger to answer these questions, Robert, A et al (2000) defined “it is a systematic approach to defining the work to be accomplished in distinctive work packages and developing a collective view of the work in this manner clarifies roles and responsibility on the project team”. However, it is help to a project manger by project into smaller chunks of work by dividing in different level, give a timeline and roadmap of each stage of the project, and facilitate to scrutinize any project into accessible with smaller parts.

Process of WBS:

A work break down structure consists with three levels. The Level-1, partitioning into some chunks of work with necessary and adequate set of activities. Level-2, process continues until all activities have met the all criteria, more break it down and looking more detail at the first levels that components and furthermore, define set of activates that will have a contribution (manger) who is responsible for completing the activity. The Lowest level, activities are defined by a work package is simply the list of things to do to finish the activities.

Roles of WBS:

There is no right or wrong way to create a WBS. It can be draw by pencil in a cocktail napkin, or more technical and use a piece of software like Visio, or Microsoft project but rather then it is more important defining some terms during the addressing WBS.

A project, of course a portion of work that has a specific end date, produces a defined set of deliverables, and obviously is an investment by a company. However, a project needs Scope for defined variable, targeted a end date, and has to a considerable commitment of resources. A Phase is a piece of a project that characteristically must be completed before the next phase can begin. A work Units is a chunk of work that must be done to make sure that the phase ends on schedule so the next phase can continue. And then the next important consideration is Task, which is the single unit of activity that collectively builds a work unit. For example a project activity for boots database creation. During the ongoing project breaking down with different levels and piece of work should denote as different colour, size and prize for convenient of quick access. This creation of these tables could and most possible would, consider a single task. For signifying how WBS work in real life situation and understand how its works, we have used the example of a project which has been developed for the project of “Constructing of Oil Production Complex”.

However, Work Breakdown Structure is a tools that helps a project manager with facilitating required work for the project to be complete, give pathway or create a sense of urgency which allows to identify team members efficiency, help to put off scope creep, and provide control because it is very clear and allow a project manager to graphically view the status of any project and how advancement is being made by breaking down in different pieces.

GANTT chart:

A very common and effective way of showing a schedule of activities is to use a bar chart or usually call GANTT charts in the project management literature after Henry Gantt, who is accredited with discovering during the First World War (Field and Keller, 1998). In their early personification Gantt charts were a production planning tools used to manage and plan set production. In modern terms Gantt used a time and distinguish a event dependent demand approach to production planning.

Process of Gantt chart:

The Gantt chart worked “top-down” manner by linking end items constraints to project planning essential components and estimates due dates for further use to plan daily production by determining the amounts to be made and then tracking production or any project activity against the daily goals. It's bar start from current start day and date according to series of activities and extent these bar as equivalence to the duration of the task finish.

Importance of Gantt chart:

Gantt chart as a tool involving people in scheduling whether produced manually or through some software basis (Microsoft Project or Excel) or optimizing algorithm, it benefits follow from their effectiveness in presenting a great deal of information (what jobs run, which machine, when, for how long, and congestion occurs or highly adaptable). James M. Wilson (2003) said “The method (Gantt chart) is highly adaptable and can readily focus on issues that concern managers”. However, Gantt chart is not a solution techniques, but it can make easy and facilitate between the analyst and user, present a powerful method for execute interactive tactic to scheduling.

A Visual Representation of Gantt chart:

The Oil Production Complex project displayed as an example of WBS, and also same activity will show in Gantt chart with estimating date and time.

WBS /TASK NUMBER

TASK NAME

DURATION

1.1

ONSHORE

1.1.1

Off Plants

8 Days

1.1.1.1

Land road activity

5

1.1.1.2

Residential Camp Activity

6

1.1.1.3

Operating Base Activity

2

1.1.1.4

Telecommunication Facilities Justify

1

1.1.1.5

Export and Loading facility arrange

3

1.1.1.6

Air Port facility Justify

1

1.1.1.7

Boat Harbour Facility look up

2

1.1.2

Start Sales Oil Pipeline

6 Days

1.1.3

Start Refinery Activity

5 Days

1.2

OFFSHORING

1.2.1

Jackets

13 Days

1.2.1.1

Drilling Platform Jackets & Cellar Decks

10 Days

1.2.1.2

Product and Living Section Rearrange

5 Days

1.2.1.3

Start Flare Platform Jackets

2 Days

1.3

OIL WELLS

1.3.1

Measuring Speed-1

15 Days

1.3.2

Measuring Speed-2

10 Days

Dealing with Increasing Complexity through Networking Representation in a Project:

Network techniques are an important tool for project scheduling and also provide a visual layout of the progression in which project work will stream. Pontrandolfo, P. (1999) emphasized as “A project manager might prove scarcely effective or difficult to be implemented when project networks are complex and activity duration estimates are uncertain”. Question might be in asked why need to develop network base scheduling when Gantt chart is easier to put up. Yes, there are some reasons, first of all Gantt chart reproduce only the order imposed by the project manager and in truth hides much of that information. Gantt chart does not hold all of the chain information that subsists, unless project manager closely familiar with the project activities he or she cannot tell form the Gantt chart what comes after and before what. The network representation let one to compute the earliest initial time at which the project can be completed. But Gantt chart reflects only when a project manager would like to have the work done.

Hence, the networking complexity emphasise the prejudice, which indeed increase with the number of similar paths to the network end events. A project is a series of consistent activates that it such it can be symbolized by a diagram called a Project Network. There are many ways and methods to represent a project through networking based scheduling.

AOA (Activity-on-Arrow):

One of the early methods for emphasising project activities as a network dates back to the early 1950s during the Polaris Missile Program (Wysocki, K.R et al, 1995). Which called the Activity on Arrow methods shown in Figure:4 each activity is represented by an arrow and node at the left rim of the arrow is the event begins the activity as the same time as the node at the right edge of the arrow is the event end the activity. This representation of a project, usually a large project, could prove very weighty of a project, as project managers can only have very easy and simple relationships between tasks. A practical example has shown bellow based on previous example (Oil Production Complex).

AON (Activity-on-Node):

The another method of developing networking diagram is a predictable known as ‘Activity-on-Node', where boxes represent the activities and the arrows are represent the reliance each of them. The term has another name known as PDM (precedence diagram method). In this format an activity begins when its precursors have been completed. Basically, it works by Finish to Start; once an activity is completed it will have produced a deliverable output which becomes input to its next activities. Each and every activity in the project will have its own activity node and accesses the activity node illustrate the time-related belongings of the activity. Commonly project managers are denote and describe characteristics of activity, such as (EST) earliest start time, and (EFT) earliest finish time which already has estimated before. Next the down bottom of the each activity has represented two more option which denoted with LST (Latest Start Time) and LFS (Latest Finish Time), because updating progress of project more efficiently and during the progress there might be uncertain cause of delayed or more break it down, the LST and LFT record all current happening activities with subtracting duration of the activity. A practical example has shown bellow on regarding addressed previous project “Oil Production Complex”.

Critical PERT Analysis:

PERT stand for Program Evaluation and Review Techniques developed by US Department of Defence on the 1950s to plan the building of the ‘Polaris' nuclear submarines, but the theatrically approach to estimation evaluation of critically directories in PERT networks is developed by Dodin and Elmaghraby (1985) (Mummolo, G. 1997). The basic idea on which PERT is based is the experimental observation that the actual progress of a project cannot be just defined on the set of project activities ended at a given date but also on the direct and on the completion date of those activities. The finishing point of an activity acceding to different finishing sequences facilitates the beginning of other activities, depending on previous one, at different dates and under distinct conditions. However, PERT assumes that activity time varies randomly according to probability compactness functions which usually are of Beta type and under the suppositions of statistics independence among activity times, the probability density function of project finishing date is determined. The formula were given at that time (1950s Polaris Submarines project) as ‘expected value and variance equal to the sum, respectively, of expected values and variances of activity times belonging to the critical path'. More presumably as

In this formula, ‘B' represents the most likely estimate for the attempt to complete a task, ‘A' represent the most optimistic estimate and most pessimistic estimate represents by ‘C'. it can be seen then, that via these three estimates, most likely outcome with a weighting towards, put together allowances for the probability that a specific deliverable may take more or less time than likely if everything goes as planned. Assume that, the example we have been addressing, according to that the project deliverable estimates are as follows.

Most Optimistic Estimate (days) 13

Most likely estimate (days) 7

Most pessimistic estimate (days) 18

So, prejudiced average would be:

= 8.833 days.

Critical Path Analysis:

One of the most widely used techniques is the critical Path methods (CPM) different from PERT method (Hiller, F.S. et al, 1990) assumed that activity times are not subject to uncertain and basis the classification of project critically on the loose time allowed for each activity completion. Principally, the attention of planners is mostly caring to zero total slack time activities, that it to those activities belonging to the so called “critical Path”. The critical path is defined as the longest path through the network in terms of activity duration. It derives the completion date of task or project in sequence of activities that describe the critical path are such that setback or delay in the completion of any one of them will delay the ending of the project. Obviously, project manager will be paying particular attention to critical path activities. A Critical Path example shown in figure: 5 with denoting bold arrow.

One way to find the critical path in the network is to itemise all possible paths. For projects of any size this methods is not practicable, the second methods could be for example a quantity known as the activity slack time (also known as float), is the amount delay that could be tolerated in the starting time (ST) or finishing time (FT) of an activity in a project without causing a delay in the finishing point. Slack time is mathematically the differences (LF-EF) Latest Finish minus Early Finish. However, in general critical path is the path that has smallest possible slack. Hence, Critical path approach enables project planning by analysing project assessment which takes into account all project activities and not only has those belonging to the critical path, consequently the approach highlighted the significant of non-critical activities as well in network planning.

Conclusion:

So far we have discussed on the based on various tools and techniques which are available to the project manager to facilitate project planning with applying in a real situation project named as ‘Oil production complex' It is widely recognized that poor project planning using un-useful techniques and tools plays a main role as one of the important causes of project failure. The report stated earlier as a project manager cannot, and should not do each and every peach of work in a project in such it would be individually impossible for one person to do every assignment. Obvious with a project team a project manager can assign, delegate, and pass on task to team members and let them get to work. Question was addressed as, how assigned task can start on before other team members task finish? The answer was given with suggesting break down method in dividing different levels of perspective call WBS. Then we addressed a very common and effective way of showing a schedule of activities is to use bar chart or GANTT chart by worked ‘top-down' manner linking end items constrains to project planning essential components and estimates due dates for further use to plan daily production by determining the amount to be made and then tracking production or any project activity against the daily goals. Then we introduced dealing with increasing complexity through networking techniques representation in project with comparing GANTT chart method way of scheduling. We demonstrate four different kinds of networking techniques AON (activity-on-node), AOA (activity-on-arrow), Critical PERT (program evaluation and review techniques) analysis, and Critical Path Analysis with appropriate examples, applications.

However, it is important to understand that without considering tools and techniques managing a project would be impossible and side by side using different tools and techniques can be more complex and success in a project yet obvious. Crawford et al. (2005) suggested that “project management dynamic facing new challenges, as tools, methods and approached to management that comprise the discipline are applied to different areas, for different ends, and a different culture”. Hence, the project management is the application of skills, knowledge, tools and techniques to project requires.

Bibliography:

1. Yu-Re Wang, G. Edward Gibson Jr. (2009) “A study of pre-project planning and project success using ANNs and regression models”, journal of automation in construction, vol.19, pp.341-346

2. Irja, Hyvari (2006) “project management effectiveness in project-oriented business organizations” journal of project management, vol.24, pp.216-225

3. Murphy, A. & Ledwith, A. (2007) “project management tools and techniques in high-technology SMEs”, journal of management research news, vol.30 No.2, pp.153-166

4. Robert, K. Wysocki, Robert.B.Jr, & David.B.C. (1995) “Effective Project Management” 1st edn. Jhon Wily & Sons, Inc. production, Canada.p.114

5. Gantt, H.L. (1903) “a graphical daily balance in manufacture”, ASME Transactions, vol.24 pp.1322-1336

6. Field, M., and Keller, L. (1998) “Project management”, Thomson Business press/ Open University, London.

7. James M. Wilson (2003) “Gantt charts: A centenary appreciation”, European journal of operational research, vol.149 pp.430-437

8. Pontrandolfo, P. (1999) “Project duration in stochastic newtworks by the PERT-path techniques”, Journal of project management, vol.18 issu.3, pp.215-222

9. Dodin, B.M. and Elmaghraby, S.E. (1985) “Approximating the criticality indices of the activities in the PERT network”, Journal of Management science, vol.31 pp.207-223

10. Mummolo, G. (1997) “Measuring uncertainty and criticality in network planning by PERT-path technique”, journal of project management, vol.15 No.6, pp.377-387

11. Hillier, F.S. & Lieberman, G.J., (1990) Operational research. Holden Day, San Francisco.

12. Robert, A. Orwige and Linda L.Brennan (2000) “An integrated view of project and quality management for project-based organizations”, journal of project and quality management, vol.17 No.4/5, pp.351-363

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14. Fox, G.M. (2004) “is there a role for project management in achieving improved success rates for start-up business?” University of Limerick, Limerick.

15. Cadle, J., Yeates, D (2001) “Project management for information systems” 3rd edn. Prentice Hall, pearson education publisher, Harlow, England. p.1

16. Hyvari, I (2002) Management of partnership projects: the management of two investment projects and changes in project management over a 10-years period. A case study. In: Slevin DP, Pinto JK, Cleland DI, editors. Proceedings of PMI research conference frontiers of project monument research and applications. Seattle, Washington; p.267-77

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