Browse Prior Art Database

Advanced Project Management Cost Optimization

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000108225D
Original Publication Date: 1992-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-22
Document File: 4 page(s) / 166K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Speiser, A: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is simple formulation of Linear Programming (LP) problems when dealing with Precedence Networks and multiple activity choices for solving conflicting critical path and cost problems. The resulting project managers (PMs) tool addresses how to: best shorten a project duration, with minimal costs; how to choose between multiple activity durations for lowest project cost, and how to convert the project duration into a budget problem when budget is more limited than duration.

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Advanced Project Management Cost Optimization

       Disclosed is simple formulation of Linear Programming
(LP) problems when dealing with Precedence Networks and multiple
activity choices for solving conflicting critical path and cost
problems.  The resulting project managers (PMs) tool addresses how
to: best shorten a project duration, with minimal costs; how to
choose between multiple activity durations for lowest project cost,
and how to convert the project duration into a budget problem when
budget is more limited than duration.

      A Project is a collection of activities or tasks to be
performed in order to finish a job.  Activities may relate to each
other creating logical dependencies network.  Two ways to describe
those logical dependencies are Arrows Network and Precedence Network.
A Project Management (PM) Tool helps the manager to plan, schedule,
monitor progress and allocate resources to the project.
Sophisticated PM models formed for Resource Allocation are usually
divided into two groups.  Carried Forward resources (available for
other activities once released from current activity) and Used Up
resources (materials and costs; basically depletable resources).

      The PM, using a Decision Enabling Project Management System,
expects to ask a question and get answers based on his project data.
The question is: which activities should the project manager shorten
to finish the project earlier.

      Shortening a project may seem a simple task.  Just look for the
critical path activities and pick one of them and make it shorter.
But, by doing just this, one is creating a new critical path or,
where there are two (or more) parallel critical paths in the project,
shortening one activity would not help much.  If a project is more
than twenty activities, then going about shortening the project in a
DSS PM system is not a simple task.  The solution is to use a simple
Linear Programming (LP) model to provide the optimal way of
shortening the project to a required new duration.

      LP enables definition of a Linear type of mathematical problem
with constraints.  The target is specified by the Objective Function.
The Objective Function is a quantity that one wants to
minimize/maximize.  For example in manufacturing problems one tries
to maximize profits under the constraints of production ability.
Other cases would like to minimize costs under other constraints.  In
this case, we would like to minimize the cost of shortening the
project and define an Objective Function that will give us a Quantity
to be minimized.  To simply try to minimize the project duration
cannot be done, because then the LP will set all durations to their
minimum limit.  What is wanted is to make ONLY the necessary changes
so that the total project duration will change to a given NEW
duration that the project should have.  To do so, we will define the
"Cost" of shortening an activity by the number of time-units the
activity h...