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D. U. Singer Hospital Products Corp. has done sufficient new product development at the research and development level to estimate a high likelihood of technical success for a product of assured commercial success: A long-term antiseptic. Management has instructed Singer's Antiseptic Division to make a market entry at the earliest possible time; they have requested a complete plan up to the startup of production. Marketing and other plans following startup of production are to be prepared separately after this plan has been completed.

Project responsibility is assigned to the division's Research and Development Group; Mike Richards, the project scientist who developed the product, is assigned responsibility for project management. Assistance will be required from other parts of the company: Packaging Task Force, R&D Group; Corporate Engineering; Corporate Purchasing; Hospital Products Manufacturing Group, Packaged Products Manufacturing Group.

Mike was concerned about the scope of the pr, ject. He knew from his own experience that a final f mula had yet to be developed, although such devel ment was really a "routine" function. The remain! questions had to do with color, odor, and consist additives rather than any performance-related m cation. Fortunately, the ma)or regulatory issues been resolved and he believed that submission of ulatory documentation would be followed by rapid; proval as they already had a letter of approval conti, gent on final documentation.

But there were also issues in packaging that ha, to be resolved; development of the packaging,o sign was one of his primary concerns at this ,t). Ultimately, there will have to be manufacturing P'> dures in accordance with corporate policies and s dards: capital equipment selection and procurers ,, installation of this equipment and startup.

Mike was concerned about defining the prO|, unambiguously. To that end. he obtained an inter with S. L. Mander, the group vice-president.

When he asked Mander where his responsibility should end, the executive turned the question back to him. Mike had been prepared for this and said that he would like to regard his part of the project as done when the production process could be turned over to manufacturing. They agreed that according to Singer practice, this would be when the manufacturing operation could produce a 95 percent yield of product (fully packaged) at a level of 80 percent of the full production goal of 10 million liters per year.

"But I want you to remember," said Mander, "that you must meet all current FDA, EPA, and OSHA regulations and you must be in compliance with our internal specification—the one I've got is dated September and is RD78/965. And you know that manufacturing now—quite rightly, 1 feel—insists on full written manufacturing procedures."

After this discussion, Mike felt that he had enough information about this aspect to start to pin down what had to be done to achieve these results. His first step in this effort was to meet with P. H. Docent, the director of research.

"You are naive if you think that you can just start right in finalizing the formula," said Docent. "You must first develop a product rationale (a).* This is a formally defined process according to company policy. Marketing expects inputs at this stage, manufacturing expects their voice to be heard, and you will have to have approvals from every unit of the company that is Involved; all of this is reviewed by the Executive Committee.! You should have no trouble if you do your homework, but expect to spend a good eight weeks to get this done."

"That certainly stretches things out," said Mike. "1 expected to take 12 weeks to develop the ingredient formula (b| and you know that I can't start to establish product specifications (c) until the formula is complete. That's another three weeks."

"Yes, but while you are working on the product specifications you can get going on the regulatory documentation (d). Full internal specifications are not required for that work, but you can't start those documents until the formula is complete."

"Yes, and I find it hard to believe that we can Push through both preparation of documents and get-

J . *Tasks whidl must he accounted for in a network plan identified by lower-case alphabetic symbols in parenthe-Refer to Exhibit 1.

ting approval in three weeks, but Environmental swears it can be done."

"Oh, it can be done in this case because of the preparatory work. Of course, 1 won't say that this estimate of three weeks is as certain as our other time estimates. All we need is a change of staff at the Agency and we are in trouble. But once you have both the specifications and the approval, you can immediately start on developing the processing system (g)."

"Yes, and how 1 wish we could get a lead on that, but the designers say that there is too much uncertainty and they won't move until they have both specifications and regulatory documentation and approval. They are offering pretty fast response; six weeks from start to finish for the processing system."

"They are a good crew, Mike. And of course, you know that you don't have to delay on starting the packaging segment of this project. You can start developing the packaging concept (e) just as soon as the product rationale has been developed. If my experience is any judge, it will take a full eight weeks; you'll have to work to keep the process from running forever."

"But as soon as that is finished we can start on the design of the package and its materials (f) which usually takes about six weeks. Once that is done we can start on the packaging system (h) which shouldn't take longer than eight weeks," concluded Mike. At this point he realized that although Docent would have general knowledge, he needed to talk directly to the Director of Manufacturing.

'The first step, which follows the completion of the development of processing and packaging systems," said the Director of Manufacturing, "is to do a complete study of the facilities requirements (i). You won't be able to get that done in less than tour weeks. And that must precede the preparation of the capital equipment list (j) which should take about three-quarters as long. Of course, as soon as both the process system and packaging system are completed, you could start on preparing the written manufacturing procedures (q)."

"But," said Mike, "Can 1 really finish the procedures before 1 have installed and constructed the facilities (p)?"

"No, quite right. What you can do is get the first phase done, but the last three of the ten weeks it will take to do that will have to wait for the installation and construction."

"Then this means that I really have two phases for the writing, that which can be completed without the

^ This article compares a number of different PM software packages and describes their differences, particularly as regards resource leveling. The packages are then compared in terms of their ability to optimally schedule 110 projects that have over-scheduled resources.

^ This article compares a number of different PM software packages and describes their differences, particularly as regards resource leveling. The packages are then compared in terms of their ability to optimally schedule 110 projects that have over-scheduled resources.

No Resource Constraints


Several commercial microcomputer project management software packages are tested for their ability to optimally schedule 110 projects in which early finish schedules have over-scheduled resources. Each examined package has the ability to remove the over-scheduled positions with resource leveling. It was found that no package consistently finds a schedule in which the project completion time is minimized. The best package obtains schedules for the 110 projects that average 5.03 percent longer than the optimal schedule of each; the weakest package obtains schedules that average 25.6 percent longer than optimal.

Commercial project management packages level resources that are over-scheduled to their earliest start schedule differently, seldom attaining the same or the shortest possible schedule. This article compares the schedules of 110 projects' generated by 13 versions of seven commercial software packages: SuperProject Expert 1.0 and SuperProject 2.0, Timeline 2.0 and 4.0, Primavera 4.00, 4.1 and 5.0, Microsoft Project for Windows 1.0 and 3.0, Harvard Total Project Manager II and Harvard Project Manager 3.0, Pertmaster Advanced2, and Hornet2; with two academic procedures: Talbot's |8| optimizer, and Patterson's |4] heuristic.

All packages that use PERT or the Critical Path Method compute the same early and late start and finish times from the same project data—unless resource leveling is required to remove over-scheduled conditions. Then, it is often very difficult to find the optimal (shortest feasible) schedule, and no commercial package examined consistently does so. Why? When two tasks require the same resource, it is not always obvious which should be scheduled first. Consider the five-task project depicted in Figure 1.

No Resource Constraints

Project Duration - 5 Days

In the absence of resource constraints, this project can be completed in five days, and the critical, path is A-D-E. The total slack of Tasks A, D, and E is 0,.i; and is 1 for Tasks B and C. (Total slack is the time which a task might be delayed beyond its early start without causing the project to be late. Wiest and Levy |9| provide a clear description of this and other critical path basics.) But suppose the only available unit of Resource R is required by Tasks B and D, which are scheduled to be performed simultaneously in the ear-. liest start schedule. To find the shortest schedule, it is necessary to try B earlier, and also try D earlier. Only then is it clear to schedule B earlier than D to complete the project in six days. Both schedules are provided in Figure 2.

An appealing way to resolve a two-task resour® conflict is to schedule the task with less total slack earlier. This is what some commercial packages do, and it is very often the correct choice. But not always, as demonstrated in Figure 2, in which Task B should be performed first to shorten the project's duration; even though it has more slack than D. •

The difficulty of determining the optimal scheo' ule lies in the vast number of combinations of tas and schedules. To be sure of obtaining an optima schedule, it is necessary to enumerate each option.

every conflict. If 20 two-task resource conflicts exist there are 1,048,576 schedules to enumerate To- $

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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