Conveyor Belt Project

Project Description

The new computer-controlled conveyor belt is an exciting project that moves and positions items on the conveyor belt within <1 millimeter. The project will produce a new system for future installations, and for replacement of those in the field, at a low cost. The computer-controlled conveyor belt has the potential to be a critical unit in 30 percent of the systems installed in factories. The new system is also easier to update with future technologies.

The Project Priority Matrix for the Conveyor Belt Project (CBP) is:

  Time Scope Cost
Constrain X    
Enhance   X  
Accept     X

Table A2.9  has been developed for you to use in completing the project exercises.

TABLE A2.9 Conveyor Belt Project; WBS

Conveyor Belt Project  
Hardware Hardware specifications
  Hardware design
  Hardware documentation
  Order circuit boards
  Assemble preproduction models
Operating system Kernel specifications
      Disk drivers
      Serial I/O drivers
  Memory management
  Operating system documentation
  Network interface
Utilities Utilities specifications
  Routine utilities
  Complex utilities
  Utilities documentation
System integration Architectural decisions
  Integration first phase
  System hard/software test
  Project documentation
  Integration acceptance testing


Develop the WBS outline using the software available to you.


Does this information (WBS) allow you to define any milestones of the project? Why or why not? What are they?

Remember: Save your file for future exercises!

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Part 2

Use your file from Part 1 and the information provided below to complete this exercise. (See  Table A2.10 .)

TABLE A2.10 Conveyor Belt Project; Schedule

Activity Description Resource Duration (days) Preceding Activity
  1 Architectural decisions Design   25
  2 Hardware specifications Development, design   50 1
  3 Kernel specifications Design   20 1
  4 Utilities specifications Development, design    15 1
  5 Hardware design Design, development 70 2
  6 Disk drivers Assembly, development 100 3
  7 Memory management Development   90 3
  8 Operating system documentation Design, documentation   25 3
  9 Routine utilities Development   60 4
10 Complex utilities Development   80 4
11 Utilities documentation Documentation, design   20 4
12 Hardware documentation Documentation, design   30 5
13 Integration first phase Assembly, development   50 6,7,8,9,10,11,12
14 Prototypes Assembly, development   80 13
15 Serial I/O drivers Development 130 13
16 System hard/software test Assembly   25 14,15
17 Order circuit boards Purchasing     5 16
18 Network interface Development   90 16
19 Shell Development   60 16
20 Project documentation Documentation, development   50 16
21 Assemble preproduction models Assembly, development   30 17F-S, lag 50 days
22 Integrated acceptance testing Assembly, development   60 18,19,20,21

Note: F-S refers to a Finish-to-Start lag.

1. Each work package will represent an activity.

2. The project begins January 4, 2010.

3. The following holidays are observed: January 1, Memorial Day (last Monday in May), July 4th, Labor Day (first Monday in September), Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November), December 25 and 26.

4. If a holiday falls on a Saturday then Friday will be given as an extra day off, and if it falls on a Sunday, then Monday will be given as a day off.

5. The project teams work eight-hour days, Monday through Friday.

Warning: Experience has taught students to frequently make separate backup files for each exercise. The software is never as friendly as users expect!

Construct a network schedule for the conveyor belt project and prepare a memo that addresses the following questions:

1. When is the project estimated to be completed? How long will the project take?

2. What is the critical path(s) for the project?

3. Which activity has the greatest amount of slack?

4. How sensitive is this network?

5. Identify two sensible milestones and explain your choices.

6. Compare the advantages/disadvantages of displaying the schedule as a network versus a Gantt chart.

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Include the following printouts:

· A Gantt chart.

· A network diagram highlighting the critical path.

· A schedule table reporting ES, LS, EF, LF, and slack for each activity.

Hint: the project should be completed in 530 days.

Remember: Save your file for future exercises!

Part 3

Remember the old saying, “A project plan is not a schedule until resources are committed.” This exercise illustrates this subtle, but very important, difference.

Part A

Using your files from Part 2 input resources and their costs if you have not already done so. All information is found in  Tables A2.10  and  A2.11 .

TABLE A2.11 Organization Resources

Name Group Cost ($/hr)
Design R&D (2 teams) $100
Development R&D (2 teams)     70
Documentation R&D (1 team)     60
Assembly/test R&D (1 team)     70
Purchasing Procurement (1 team)     40

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Prepare a memo that addresses the following questions:

1. Which if any of the resources are overallocated?

2. Assume that the project is time constrained and try to resolve any overallocation problems by leveling within slack. What happens?

3. What is the impact of leveling within slack on the sensitivity of the network?

Include a Gantt chart with the schedule table after leveling within slack.

4. Assume the project is resource constrained and resolve any overallocation problems by leveling outside of slack. What happens? What are the managerial implications?

5. What options are available at this point in time?

Include a Gantt chart with the schedule table after leveling outside of slack.

Note: No splitting of activities is allowed.

Note: No partial assignments (e.g., 50 percent). All resources must be assigned 100 percent.

Part B

When you show the resource-constrained network to top management, they are visibly shaken. After some explanation and negotiation they make the following compromise with you:

· The project must be completed no later than February 2, 2012 (530 days).

· You may assign two additional development teams.

· If this does not suffice, you may hire other development teams from the outside. Hire as few external teams as possible because they cost $50 more per hour than your inside development people.

Internal Development

Add as many development units (teams) as needed to stay within the 530 days. If you need more than two internal development units, then hire as few external teams as necessary. Select the cheapest possibility! Change as few activities as possible. It is recommended you keep work packages which require cooperation of several organizational units inside your company. You decide how best to do this.

Hint: Undo leveling prior to adding new resources.

Once you have obtained a schedule that meets the time and resource constraints, prepare a memo that addresses the following questions:

1. What changes did you make and why?

2. How long will the project take?

3. How did these changes affect the sensitivity of the network?

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