Provide a table with the efforts, durations, reliability estimates, maximum errors, and resource intensities required at the activity level within the lowest-level DWBS elements (the work packages).
Use of a project planning software is mandatory for this part of the assignment. While the choice of the software is open, most students tend to use Microsoft Project 201X or Primavera P6.
Please set the start date of the project to Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, with a 5-day work week calendar. If your project requires a specific start date/ end date or an alternate work calendar, please use them as needed and provide reasons to do so.
Break the DWBS’s work packages down to two to three activities each with total number of activities across the project in the 60-80 range. The tasks together for each work package should use a minimum of three different resources categories. (If you cannot meet these criteria initially, you may need to increase the scope of the selected project. If you revise the project scope, please update the project objectives and DWBS accordingly. For recurring activities, only the parent recurring activities will be counted and not their individual instances.)
Estimate the volume of the work, identify the resources required and corresponding durations for each of the activities. Next estimate the magnitude and probability of the possible maximum error (= 1- reliability of the estimated duration). What do we mean by reliability? Reliability means the confidence you put on the number that you have given, e.g., “I am 93 percent sure that this task will be completed in 9 days.” Thus, seven percent of the time, the task will require more than nine days. Suppose the maximum possible duration is 14 days. Then the maximum error is five days.
Note that the duration estimate assumes a resource intensity, which you must also state. This initial duration should be the optimum duration, i.e., the duration that minimizes the effort, which is the product of the intensity and the duration. For example, if you use 3 brick layers for 4 days to build a wall, then the resource is brick layer, the intensity is 3, the duration is 4 days, and the total effort is 12 worker-days.
Precedence table and initial network diagram.
Develop a precedence table. The precedence table must show the relationship among all the project’s activities (avoid connecting work packages or higher-level deliverables) and show their start dates. Sort this table in the order which these activities need to be started. The table should not include any deliverables. All the relationships need to be defined clearly. Comments should be provided for all relationships other than FS with no lag.
Now you can develop and present a network diagram (ND) for your project (Precedence Diagram Model or project network). The ND should be presented in the following two forms:
- A summarized version with each node providing only the ID or WBS code for the corresponding activity. It should identify the critical path within the network forthe entire project. This version should fit within one to a few
- A version showing only the critical path(s) with each node providing basic information on the corresponding critical activity. (Alternatively, the entire network with each node providing basic information on the corresponding activity can be provided. The critical path should be identified in the network. The “expanded” network can run in to tens of pages and should be provided in appendix. Printing the network on paper is discouraged in the interest of)
Check your network for optimality. Question its validity. If you find that portions of the network contain a long, serial string of elements, test the logic. Verify that any two sequential elements cannot be done in parallel because the completion of the first is truly necessary before the start of the second (check the predecessors and successors relationships).
The network must have only one element at the beginning and only one element at the end. The remainder of the elements will reside on various paths that will go from the beginning to the end of the network.
Provide table(s) with the project’s total cost and resource needs.
Basically, the cost calculation using DWBS involves only accumulating and rolling up; conceptually, it is trivial. Making the software do what you want may be more problematic. While any spreadsheet could be used to do the estimation and collation of data, use of project management software is mandatory for this assignment. Using PM software prevents duplication of effort (entering data in, say, Excel and later in the PM software). Please note that use of PM software features that integrate with other tools (e.g., MS Project’s Visual Report feature that integrates with MS Excel) is allowed.
In the first part, you determined all resource needs at the lowest levels of the DWBS (the work packages). Per unit costs for all the resources need to be defined in the PM software and included in the report. Now use this structure and these values to develop the full project effort and cost estimate. If you have activities whose duration or number of occurrences are determined by project duration (referred to as “hammock” activities in some software), such as weekly review meetings, project management tasks, etc., they should use the project duration based on the network defined in the second part. Provide a detailed table showing the intensity, duration, effort and costs for each individual resource category (“resource name” in MS Project) utilized for each of the activities. The table should roll-up the cost through all levels of WBS to the project level. Include cost estimates for outsourced deliverables and identify the sources of such information.
Please include a comment on your general approach for estimating costs. Sources for cost estimating information should be identified. Any unique methods used for estimating costs at the activity level (beyond looking up from identified sources such as Bureau of Labor Statistics website) should be briefly commented on.
Determine the total amount of resources, on a resource by resource basis, that would be necessary for all DWBS elements at all levels. The higher levels require no new resources, only sums of the lower levels. That is, repeat the summations at higher and higher levels of the DWBS until you arrive at a total resource expenditure, resource by resource, for the project, i.e., at the highest level (level zero) of the DWBS. Please provide summary tables for resource efforts and associated costs for:
- the project,and,
- for each level 1 deliverable (multiple tables with one set of tables each per level 1 deliverable).
A Comprehensive Analysis of Your Findings
This section requires the team to design and provide their independent comprehensive analysis. What additional information would you present to the client (external or internal) based on the analysis in the previous three sections? Discuss the key messages from the WBS and the tables developed for the preceding sections. Consider the wide range of reports available from project planning software to see what might add value to the report. The analysis should not exceed 3 pages (these pages are counted towards the 10 page limit on the text in the report) and should include at least one comprehensive chart each for the information presented in Sections 1 and 3.
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