You are the assistant project manager to Rassy Brown, who is in charge of the Nightingale project. Nightingale was the code name given to the development of a handheld electronic medical reference guide. Nightingale would be designed for emergency medical technicians and paramedics who need a quick reference guide to use in emergency situations.
Rassy and her project team were developing a project plan aimed at producing 30 working models in time for MedCON, the biggest medical equipment trade show each year. Meeting the MedCON October 25 deadline was critical to success. All the major medical equipment manufacturers demonstrated and took orders for new products at MedCON. Rassy had also heard rumours that competitors were considering developing a similar product, and she knew that being first to market would have a significant sales advantage. Besides, top management made funding contingent upon developing a workable plan for meeting the MedCON deadline.
The project team spent the morning working on the schedule for Nightingale. They started with the WBS and developed the information for a network, adding activities when needed. Then the team added the time estimates they had collected for each activity. Following is the preliminary information for activities with duration time and predecessors:
Activity Description Duration Predecessor
1 Architectural decisions 10 None
2 Internal specifications 20 1
3 External specifications 18 1
4 Feature specifications 15 1
5 Voice recognition 15 2,3
6 Case 4 2,3
7 Screen 2 2,3
8 Speaker output jacks 2 2,3
9 Tape mechanism 2 2,3
10 Database 40 4
11 Microphone/soundcard 5 4
12 Pager 4 4
13 Barcode reader 3 4
14 Alarm clock 4 4
15 Computer I/O 5 4
16 Review design 10 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15
17 Price components 5 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15
18 Integration 15 16,17
19 Document design 35 16
20 Procure prototype components 20 18
21 Assemble prototypes 10 20
22 Lab test prototypes 20 21
23 Field test prototypes 20 19,22
24 Adjust design 20 23
25 Order stock parts 15 24
26 Order custom parts 2 24
27 Assemble first production unit 10 25, FS+8 time units
26, FS+13 time units
28 Test unit 10 27
29 Produce 30 units 15 28
30 Train sales representatives 10 29
Using Microsoft Project 2013 develop the schedule for activities (see Case Appendix for further instructions) noting late and early times, the critical path, and estimated completion for the project.
You need to answer the following:
1 Will the project as planned meet the October 25th deadline?
2 What activities lie on the critical path?
3 How sensitive is this network?
Rassy and the team were concerned with the results of your analysis. They spent the afternoon brainstorming alternative ways for shortening the project duration. They rejected outsourcing activities because most of the work was developmental in nature and could only be done in-house. They considered altering the scope of the project by eliminating some of the proposed product features. After much debate, they felt they could not compromise any of the core features and be successful in the marketplace. They then turned their attention to accelerating the completion of activities through overtime and adding additional technical manpower. Rassy had built into her proposal a discretionary fund of $200,000. She was willing to invest up to half of this fund to accelerate the project, but wanted to hold onto at least $100,000 to deal with unexpected problems. After a lengthy discussion, her team concluded that the following activities could be reduced at the specified cost:
Development of voice recognition system could be reduced from 15 days to 10 days at a cost of $15,000.
Creation of database could be reduced from 40 days to 35 days at a cost of $35,000.
Document design could be reduced from 35 days to 30 days at a cost of $25,000.
External specifications could be reduced from 18 days to 12 days at a cost of $20,000.
Procure prototype components could be reduced from 20 days to 15 days at a cost of $30,000.
Order stock parts could be reduced from 15 days to 10 days at a cost of $20,000.
Ken Clark, a development engineer, pointed out that the network contained only finish-to-start relationships and that it might be possible to reduce project duration by creating start-to-start lags. For example, he said that his people would not have to wait for all of the field tests to be completed to begin making final adjustments in the design. They could start making adjustments after the first 15 days of testing. The project team spent the remainder of the day analyzing how they could introduce lags into the network to hopefully shorten the project. They concluded that the following finish-to-start relationships could be converted into lags:
Document design could begin 5 days after the start of the review design.
Adjust design could begin 15 days after the start of field test prototypes.
Order stock parts could begin 5 days after the start of adjust design.
Order custom parts could begin 5 days after the start of adjust design.
Training sales representatives could begin 5 days after the start of test unit and completed 5 days after the production of 30 units.
As the meeting adjourns, Rassy turns to you and tells you to assess the options presented and try to develop a schedule that will meet the October 25th deadline. You need to answer the following questions:
1 Is it possible to meet the deadline?
2 If so, how would you recommend changing the original schedule (Part A) and why? Assess the relative impact of crashing activities versus introducing lags to shorten project duration.
3 What would the new schedule look like?
4 What other factors should be considered before finalizing the schedule?
Prepare a short word document answering the questions in Part A and Part B make sure you clearly differentiate the 2 sections. Include a screen capture of the gantt chart for part A and for part B showing the critical path each capture needs to be on a single page.
Include a screencast recording of the changes you make to the original MSP file as you explain your answers to Part B, include yourself in the recording in the bottom right corner. The Part B recording should be no longer than 7 minutes and named Part B.mp4. You need to clearly show the original schedule with duration and critical path. You then need to show what changes you have made and the new schedule.
Submit your assignment as ONE single MS Word file. You need to insert the video recording at the appropriate place (use Insert Object menu item). Make sure your video is no bigger than 20-30 Mb. You may need to submit the file via a cloud storage provider.
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