Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reducing Project Duration

Reducing project duration:

We design or select the projects that have time, cost, and resource suitable with our financial ability, our times and our resources available. Those three things very important and very closely with each other:

Reducing Time --> Using more Resources --> Cost will be increased

Reducing Resources --> Reducing direct cost --> Extending times.

Reducing the time of a critical activity in a project can be done but almost always results in higher direct cost.
When we reduce the time of a critical activity, the project’s critical path can be change with other activities and that new path will determine the new project completion date.
We have some effective methods to reduce project duration:

*Adding Resources: This is popular method to reduce project’s time by assigning additional staff and equipment to activities.

*Outsourcing Project work: A common method for shortening the project time is to subcontract an activity. The subcontract may have access to superior technology or expertise that will accelerate the completion of the activity.

*Scheduling Overtime: The easiest way to add more labor to a project is not to add more people, but to schedule overtime.
Other methods such as: Establish a core project team, Do it Twice-Fast and Correctly, Fast-Tracking, Critical-Chain, Reducing Project Scope, Compromise Quality.

The challenge for the project manager is to use a quick, logical method to compare the benefits of reducing project time with the cost. Critical activities are searched to find the lowest direct-cost activities that will shorten the project duration. Total cost for specific project durations are computed and then compared with the benefits of reducing project time before the project begins or while it is in progress.

Project Cost: the total cost for each duration is the sum of the indirect and direct costs. Indirect costs continue for life of the project, any reduction in project duration means a reduction in direct costs. Direct costs reduce from the project original planed duration, the sum of the costs of all the work packages or activities represents the total direct costs for the project.

Application: Depend on the situation of the company (resources available) and the industry, the project manager have decision to manage his project. The project duration can be extended or reduced base on the profit and the costs according to that project.
The project manager flexible to make decision to get the optimal profits with the lowest costs in the limit times

Monday, August 14, 2006

Scheduling Resources

Scheduling Resources:

Scheduling = Project Network + Resources

To achieve our organization’s goals, we have so many ways, implements, strategies which show on our projects. But we don’t select all of them; we should choose the projects that suitable with our ability (times, costs, resources).
We need to know our resources available and requirement of new project. Based on the company’s strategies, we can develop or decrease our resources.

Organization’s Objectives = Strategies + Projects

Last time we designed the project network and now we add the resources for each activity, we call all of them is schedule. The resources of those activities can be money, peoples, materials, machines.

This step very important, because of it impact directly to financial of project and based on them the organization consider and make decision to develop, reduce or maintain their resources.

When the new project comes, the manager and his or her colleagues need to consider three main things:

· Profits of the project.
· Project’s requirements.
· Their company’s resources available when that project is applied in the future.

The peoples who are assigned to design the schedule must have experience and strongly knowledge in that file.

The peoples who make decision to invest the new project must have experience, knowledge and forecasting skill as well. Form understanding all of company operations, strategies, to their missions. The good project’s manager always has sub-strategies to replace when the problems occur.

How to apply that knowledge in real life!

Depend on the situation and industry; I can apply those strategies to achieve my goals with shortest times, lowest costs, optimal of my resources available. To become a good manager, it is not easy, but it is not impossible, we need to have a large knowledge and combine them to make right decision at right time.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Project Network

We have two methods to describe the project network: AON (activity on node) and AOA (activity on arrow).

AOA method: we use the arrows to describe the project’s activities, each activity have start point and finish point. The end point can be finish point of that activity, also is start point or end point of one or others activities. From the AOA network we also know the duration of each activity.

AON method describes the activities very clearly on the nodes. Form the AON network we know the names and durations of all activities of the project. AON network have two ways to show times:

Forward Pass-Early times start from the first project’s activity (left hand side) though the network to the last project’s activity (right hand side); the forward pass shows to us the early start time and early finish of each activity.

Backward Pass-Latest times start with the last project activity on the network though the network to the first project’s activity. The backward pass shows to us the last start and last finish of each activity of the project.

I will apply those strategies to design and manage my company’s project in the future.

Based on the critical path we can analyze the relationship between activities, such as Finish to Start relationship, Finish to Finish, Start to Finish and Combination Relationship.

In construction company, times very important and have impact directly to the cost and resource of the construction.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Midterm summary

Firstly, we distinguished between projects and routine works; what different between program and project. Why the organization need to do the projects and how to manage them.

Secondly, we analyzed the strategy and mission of organization. We need to integrate between projects and strategy to achieve the mission of organization. Every project should contribute to the organization’s strategy. Every project must have profits to project investor or benefit for public.

Thirdly, we identified the structure and culture of organization and project; analyze the relationships between structure and culture.

Fourthly, we defined the project, analyze the scope of the project, and design the WBS of the project.

Fifthly, based on the scope and WBS we estimate time, cost, and resource for our project. We analyzed the relationship between cost, time and resource. How to reduce time, How to use optimal resources, How to reduce cost

Last two weeks, we went to the new step: that is design the project networks.
What is the project network?
The project network is an implement to control all activities of the project. The project network is developed from the project’s WBS. From the WBS we estimate times, costs and resources for each activity and the whole project. The project network integrates and describes more details of all activities of the project such as: From the project network the manager know the start and finish time of each activity, which one can be priority to complete early, which one must finish before starting the next. From the project network the manager also know the earliest and latest finish time of that project.

Why do we need the project network?
We need the project network because we want to use optimal our time, cost and resource for that project. Each project (small or big) has the limit. Each project has its life cycle.
The project network very important, it help the project manager can control the project time, reduce the cost (direct and indirect cost), use optimal their resources (based on the demand of each activity and its duration the manager can transfer and use their machines, workers, equipments, etc. with highest productivity).
We have two methods to describe the project network: AON (activity on node) and AOA (activity on arrow).
AOA method: we use the arrows to describe the project’s activities, each activity have start point and finish point. The end point can be finish point of that activity, also is start point or end point of one or others activities.

The application: in my company (Construction Company) we always use the project network to control our projects, we call the project network is “bang tien do thi cong” which help our engineer set-up the jobs in the construction site and know exactly demand about resources (worker, machine, equipment, etc.) time, cost, every thing about the current projects. Based on that information, we have decision to transfer worker, machines between the construction sites or buy new equipments, or hire more workers, etc.