Schedules and Scope Changes
- First Draft Schedule for the Project: a Schedule based on time relationships only, Resource Loading, Cash Flows and the relevant write up
- Baseline Schedule and Developing the Baseline: process andpresentation
- Scope ChangeSection
- Report with a professional appearance with correctgrammar
- Project planning software files matching the 3 sections of the report and Excel file with calculations for USM/MCS for part
The text across the main body of the document should not exceed 10 pages (not counting tables and figures) using 12 point font, 1.5 spacing, and one inch margins all around.
1. Draft the initial schedule for the project by developing a network diagram, a schedule based on time relationships, resource loading, cash flows and accompanying analysis.
If you think it is necessary, refine your Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), the elemental estimates, and the network, as this is your last chance before developing the baseline schedule of the project to be submitted for implementation. If you do make any modifications, please identify them together with the reason for modification in your report.
As stated earlier, the project will begin on Monday, January 4, 2021, and follow a 5-day work week. If your project is based on a work project, this should be identified and the actual/desired start and end dates for the work projects can be used. Produce a Gantt chart schedule for the project and table the start dates, finish dates and float for each activity. Please note that the Gantt chart is the graphical part presented by MSP and is not just the table. Sort the Gantt chart and associated table using criticality factor based on total float/slack (ascending order of total float) with secondary sort on start dates.
The project schedule should not be encumbered by any constraints unless it is real and required. Do not introduce resource constraints into the schedule at this point, and do not try to level the resources (that will be addressed in the next section). For this section, please continue to assume that you can use as much of any resource as you need for the project.
Provide the schedule for the activities of the level-one deliverable with longest duration as a separate Gantt chart using filtering, and explain how you arrived at these reports. The provided schedules in the report should be readable with zooming in if necessary.
Comment on the schedules produced. Are the total duration of the project and the durations of the various level-one elements reasonable? If not, possibly the sequence logic should be checked and altered to improve your plans. What may be the reasons for any deviations from the earlier estimate developed in PID?
By now you should be able to view resource loading charts (i.e., resource effort required as a function of time); these charts are a byproduct of your data entry and precedence relationships. Now use the software to develop a resource loading chart (graph) showing resource demand in work hours over the life of the project for each of the project's five most critical (the top five resources with maximum total cost) people or equipment resources only. Provide this information in tabular format as well (a total of ten reports, a table and a graph for each of the selected five resources).
Please also provide a table showing the peak units for the five identified resources.
Develop the same reports for the most used resource for the most expensive level-one deliverable. These reports are similar to the ones developed above (again in graphical and tabular form, for a total of two reports). The difference is that the graph here should show only the load on the resource from activities for the largest level-1 deliverable.
Develop a total cash-flow report for the whole project in two formats, bar chart and table, over the life of the project.
Develop separate cash-flow reports for the first 25% and the last 25% of the duration of the most expensive level-one deliverable. Provide these reports in two formats: tabular and graphical. For the above reports, the period unit for both cash flow and resource loading charts should be one of the conventional time units that is equal to or smaller than 1/20th of the total baseline duration of your project or the report. You will thus plot at least 20 points across the time axis.
Analyze these reports: explain whether the resource loading and cash flows are uniformly distributed or not. If not, what are the reasons? What can you learn from the above sets of charts? Analyze these sets of charts and provide accompanying comments with each of them.
Note: If you are using MS Project, please save the unconstrained schedule as “Baseline1.” This is to allow you to save the constrained schedule in the next part at “Baseline.” MS Project appears to have a bug that prevents generation of earned value reports with “Baseline1” as the planned schedule.
2. Develop the constrained (baseline) schedule.
Develop a constrained schedule that will serve as the baseline for project execution (Performance Management Baseline). Here we introduce resource constraints: assume each of your five critical resources (identified above) is available only at 60 percent (rounded up to nearest tenths) of the peak units provided earlier. The minimum availability level cannot be less than the maximum value needed per activity. At least 4 out of 5 resources should have their available number of resources less than the 60 percent of the peak demand. The remaining (5th) resource can have its availability set to the max. value needed per activity if that is higher than 60% value. Please feel free to reduce the intensity of the resource for concerned activities (while keeping the work same) or use the successively next highest used resources until the above requirement is met. Resources should not be skipped for leveling for any reason other than the high simultaneous resource requirement for activities (e.g. shouldn’t be skipped just because leveling them will make the project “too long”).
The resource availability constraint necessitates leveling each resource requirement such that it does not exceed the available number at any time during the life of the project.
If the team discovers at this stage that some of the resource assignments *were not estimated correctly earlier and* need to be reduced, the team needs to make those changes in the unconstrained schedule and update all the information for Part 1. Reduction in resource requirements for activities in part 2 as compared to corresponding information in part 1 is considered scope reduction and that is not allowed at this stage.
Improving the quality of the schedule also involves considering the utilization of resources. The duration of the project should not be simply extended to level out the peaks since that may lead to times when resources are poorly utilized or the project duration is extended more than can be justified. No tasks should be split for leveling and individual assignments on each task should be evenly distributed. If you have a highly variable resource profile that indicates poor resource utilization even if the requirements do not exceed the available capacity. There is probably a need to level or improve the quality of the schedule in such cases.
You can stretch or crash individual activities to improve the leveling. As a project manager, you have to arrive at (and explain!) a good combination of well-utilized resources and the project duration. In the previous assignment, you considered optimum duration of activities; here you focus on “optimum” duration for the whole project.
Note that leveling can result in parts of the critical path disappearing since it may introduce delays to accommodate resource constraints. For keeping track of the critical path, you are encouraged to experiment with leveling parts to schedule at a time rather than the entire schedule at once. Partial leveling changes can lead to critical path disappearing too, but since you are doing the changes one at a time, you can keep track of the “resource critical path” and highlight it. You can implement the identified shift through specifying lead or lag values and that will keep the critical path visible. When leveling the entire schedule at once, it may be hard to identify the activities and resources that caused parts of the critical path to disappear and the resulting “resource critical path.” Irrespective of the approach used, you need to convince the management that your analysis justifies the recommended option.
Please briefly describe the overall leveling process (e.g., one vs. multiple passes of software driven and/or manual leveling with associated objectives). The changes made to arrive at the baseline schedule should be clearly explained and identified, including the activities that were rescheduled (e.g., change of start date, change of resource type, change of intensity and duration without changing the effort; change in effort may be needed in case of change in resource type).
A table listing the modified activities with before and after parameters should be provided for this purpose including explanations for any changes in effort or duration. The overall impact of these changes should be communicated through comparison of the resource loading profile of the five most critical resources for the project and the total cash flow of the baseline schedule with those from your earlier, unconstrained schedule. A table comparing peak units for the two schedules should be provided to clearly show that the constraint limits are not exceeded for the five resources any time during the project.
Provide the baseline schedule using a Gantt chart with the critical path clearly identified (while it may not be possible to identify a “time critical path,” a “resource critical path” should be identified). Please briefly describe the process used for identifying the resource critical path. Again, make sure that you provide some insight on why you recommend that specific schedule and why that is the best for implementation. Also, provide a Gantt chart comparison between the unconstrained schedule and the constrained schedule (You have to save the unconstrained schedule as a baseline named “Baseline1” to be able to do the comparison. However, remember the real baseline will be the constrained schedule).
Calculate the contingency schedule buffer using an appropriate method (e.g., USM or MCS) and discuss how the team will use the buffer information. The buffers are not required to be added to the MSP file for the purpose of the assignment, though they should be added to the plan on a real project. Please submit the associated Excel file for USM or MCS (with @Risk graphs saved for MCS) with the assignment.
Note 1: The learning objective for this part is leveling with schedule adjustments, crashing and stretching the activities, etc. The plan should not be made feasible by simply adding resources. If the team wants to schedule the project such that it finishes by a certain date, please have the project start earlier and level the schedule to honor the defined resource constraints.
Note 2: It is recommended that the network diagrams and Gantt charts be included in landscape format for better readability. For Gantt charts going over multiple pages, please repeat a column that can help identify the activities corresponding to the bars displayed.
Change the Scope (This is a "what if" analysis, make sure that you keep a copy of your baseline scheduleintact).
After you submit the baseline the client expresses gratitude for the baseline that you developed. However, before approving it they would like the project team to consider the following RFC (Request for Change) as an alternative approach.
The client wishes to inform you that the management is considering some changes in the specifications. This has resulted in a request for scope changes to the project. The client understands that there may be additional costs incurred for these changes. So you are asked to do a “what if” analysis and provide your recommendation for making the final decision based on this alternate scenario.
Use the constrained schedule/baseline (from section 2 in this assignment) as the starting point. Number the activities sequentially starting from 1, skipping the deliverables, summary tasks, and recurring activities.
The scope for some items has been increased, but the scope of other items has been reduced. The impact of changes in the scope is reflected in changes to the activities, summaries of which are given below:
The scope for activities 3, 13, 23, 33, and 43 has been increased by 20%.
The scope for activities 4, 14, 24, 34, and 44 has been reduced by 15%.
The scope for activities 7, 17, 27, 37, and 47 has been increased by 25%.
Please implement the changes respecting the resource availability limits defined in the previous section. However, given the client is exploring this change, adjustments have to be implemented only in the identified activities and their impact simply allowed to cascade through the rest of the schedule (i.e., periods of underutilized resources are okay but there should be no overloading for the constrained resources). Scope should be changed via activity duration increase only where increase in resources will overload any of the 5 critical resource groups identified earlier. However, if even that leads to overallocation, the resources should be leveled again.
Determine the increase or decrease in costs for individual activities and the WBS elements that are affected by this RFC. What are the impacts of these changes? What is the cost to the project? What is the duration impact? Provide your answers, analysis, and insights.
The client has requested a copy of MS Project (or other project planning software) file with your project plan and a scope change report reflecting the RFC. The report should be self-contained and should include supporting tables and charts from the MSP file.
Submission Format. Please submit one zipped file that includes the files listed below:
- A report responding to everything asked for in this assignment in one PDF
- The PM Software (e.g., MS Project) file with the unconstrainedschedule
- The PM Software (e.g., MS Project) file with the baselineschedule
- The PM Software (e.g., MS Project) file with the changed scope schedule ilesFpertaining to USM or MCS analysis
However, do not refer to the PM Software files in your assignment. The PM software files are for us as a backup in case we need to look at information other than that provided in the report. Follow the submission guidelines mentioned on Blackboard for integrity statement, naming and submitting your files.