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solved assignments semester 4 Q. Discuss CPM technique of project planning.


Answer:
In 1957, this project management method was designed in order to address the challenge of shutting down the chemical plants for maintenance and then restarting the plants once the maintenance work was completed. The main benefits of the CPM are as follows –

CPM provides a graphical view of the project
CPM predicts the time required to complete the project
It shows the activities which are critical to maintaining the schedule and which are not CPM models the activities and events of a project as a network. Activities are depicted as nodes on the network and events that signify the beginning or ending of the activities are depicted as the arcs or lines between the nodes. The following is an example of a CPM Network diagram –

Steps in CPM Planning
The main steps involved in the CPM Project planning process are as follows–
1. Specification of the individual activities
2. Determination of the sequence of those activities
3. Drawing of a network diagram
4. Estimation of the completion time for each activity
5. Identification of the critical path (longest path through the network)
6. Updating the CPM diagram as the project progresses

1. Specification of the Individual Activities
From the work breakdown structure, a listing can be made of all the activities in the project. This listing can be used as the basis for adding the sequences and duration information in the later steps.

2. Determination of the Sequence of the Activities
Some activities are dependent on the completion of others. A listing of the immediate predecessors of each activity is useful for constructing the CPM network diagram.

3. Drawing of the Network Diagram
Once the activities and their sequencing have been defined, the CPM diagram can be drawn. CPM originally was developed as an activity on node (AON) network, but some project planners prefer to specify the activities on the arc.

4. Estimation of Activity Completion Time
The time required to complete each activity can be estimated using past experience or the estimates of the knowledgeable persons or the experts in the field. CPM is a deterministic model that does not take into account variation in the completion time, so only one number is used for an activity’s time estimate. Hence, specific time-frame is taken into consideration in the Critical Path Method (CPM).

5. Identification of the Critical Path
The critical path is the longest-duration path through the network. The significance of the critical path is that the activities that lie on it cannot be delayed without delaying the project. Because of its impact on the entire project, Critical Path Analysis is an important aspect of project planning.

The critical path can be identified by determining four parameters for each activity. These parameters are as the following –
·         ES – Estimated Start Time – The earliest time at which the activity can start given that its precedent activities must be completed first.
·         EF – Earliest Finish Time – The Earliest Finish Time includes the earliest start time as well as the time required to complete the activity. It equals the ES time + the time required for completing the activity.
·         LF – Latest Finish Time – The Latest Finish Time is the time at which the activity can be completed without delaying the project.
·         LS – Latest Start Time – The Latest Start Time is the latest finish time excluding the time required to complete the activity. It is equal to the latest finish time minus the time required to complete the activity.

The Slack Time for an activity is the time between its earliest and latest start time, or between its earliest and latest finish time. Slack is the amount of time that an activity can be delayed past its earliest start or earliest finish without delaying the project. The critical path is the path through the project network in which none of the activities have slack, that is, the path for which ES = LS and EF = LF for all activities in the path. A delay in the critical path delays the project. Similarly, in order to accelerate the project it is necessary to reduce the total time required for the activities to be done in the critical path.

6. Updating the CPM Diagram as the Project Progresses
As the project progresses, the actual task completion times will be known and the network diagram can be updated in order to include the information on task completion. It is possible that a new critical path may emerge with the progress in the project and the structural changes may be made in the network if the project requirements change.

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