School of Information Management & Systems. Spring.
285  Design of Library Services.   Buckland. Spring 2000.

Assignment 6: Critical Path Analysis. Due April 7.
At Big State University you have been assigned responsibility for moving the library's computer center to a new site. The new site has been selected. The Director of the Library is unwilling to tolerate any interruption of service so parallel operation is required until the system is demonstrably working reliably at the new site. After research and consultation you conclude that the following is your best estimate of what is involved, what the delays are, and what the interdependencies are. A range, eg 4-6, indicates optimistic and pessimistic estimates.

    Actions       Weeks   Depends on
A Establish suitability of building 3 -
B Feasibility/plan/cost telecommunications 3 -
C Estimate remodelling cost of building 1 A
D Get funding approved 3 B,C
E Appoint project manager 1 D
F Select architect for remodelling 4 D
G Preparation of working drawings 5 F
    Optimistic 4 weeks; pessimistic 6.
H Select contractor 4 G
I Remodelling (incl. telecommunications) 6 H
Optimistic 5, pessimistic 7.
J Select/order equip for parallel operation 3 E
K Take delivery of equip at new site 3 J
L Establish parallel operations 2 I,K
M Certify operations at new site O.K. 3 L
N Discontinue/dismantle old site 4 M

As part of your planning:
1. Construct a Gantt chart. (cf. Handout based on Koontz, Management , p. 592-593). Use vertical lines to indicate dependencies. Labelling bars helps.
2. Create a PERT network flowchart. Lines denote performance of tasks; nodes are the "milestones" between tasks. Flow from left to right. (cf. McCabe, Operations, 281-284; Also Daft, Management 2nd ed, 228-9; 1st ed., 210-13).
3. Critical Path Analysis: Identify and mark "the critical path" on your PERT chart.
4. What would be shortest time to complete the project if your optimistic estimates were correct?
5. How long if the pessimistic estimates were correct?
6. After 2 weeks working on task J. you are about to sign the purchase order when a lawsuit alleging lack of due process in procurement is threatened. You start over with formal Requests For Proposals, spend another 10 weeks on J, and find that the lowest bidder takes 16 weeks to deliver (K). What effect does that have on the Critical Path and project completion time?