chapter  3
42 Pages

Project Time Control

Project time, manifested in terms of project schedule, is a critical element of project management. To control time is to control the fate of a project. Project time management techniques constitute a major avenue to accomplishing goals and objectives in various government, business, military, industrial, and academic organizations. The techniques of project time management and control can be divided into three major categories:

• Qualitative managerial techniques • Computational decision models • Computer tools

This chapter focuses on computational network techniques for project schedule (time) control. SpeciŒcally, the network techniques of CPM (critical path method) and PERT (program evaluation and review technique) are covered. Network techniques emerged as a formal body of knowledge for project management during World War II and ushered in a golden era for operations research and quantitative modeling techniques. Badiru (1996) deŒnes project management as the process of managing, allocating, and timing resources to achieve a given objective expeditiously. The phases of project management are:

• Planning • Organizing • Scheduling • Controlling

The network techniques covered in this chapter apply primarily to the scheduling phase, although network planning is sometimes included in project planning. Every member of every organization needs project management to accomplish objectives. Consequently, the need for project management will continue to grow as organizations seek better ways to satisfy the constraints on:

• Schedules (time limitations) • Costs (budget limitations) • Performance (quality limitations)

The different tools of project management may change over time. Some will come and go, but the basic need to use network analysis to manage projects will remain constant. The network of activities in a project forms the basis for scheduling. CPM and PERT are the two most popular techniques for project network analysis. The precedence diagramming method (PDM) is also widely used, particularly for concurrent engineering applications. A project network is a graphical representation of the contents and objectives of the project. The basic project network analysis is typically implemented in three phases (network planning, network scheduling, and network control) that present the following advantages:

1. Advantages for communication: It clariŒes project objectives. It establishes the speciŒcations for project performance. It provides a starting point for more detailed task analysis. It presents a documentation of the project plan. It serves as a visual communication tool.