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ED 319 115 



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TITLE 

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Beach, Robert H. 

Basic Project Management Methodologies for Survey 

Researchers. 

Aug 88 

29p.j Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the 
National Council of Professors of Educational 
Administration (Kalamrizoo, MI, August 1988). Contains 
occasional faint type. 

Speeches/Conference Papers (150) — Information 
Analyses (070) 



EDRS PRICE MP01/PC02 Plus Postage. 

DESCRIPTORS «Coroputer uses in Education! Elementary Secondary 

Educationi *Microcomputersi ^Research Methodology i 
*Social Science Research? ^Surveys 

IDENTIFIERS ^Project Management 



ABSTRACT 

To I>e effective^ project management requires a heavy 
dependence on the document ^ list, and computational capability of a 
computerized environment. Now that microcomputers are readily 
available r only the rediscovery of classic project management 
methodology is required for improved resource allocation in small 
research projects. This paper provides an overview of project 
management r its associated tools, and the key literature in the 
field. The term "project « refers to the organization doing the work^ 
dedicated to completing a single task within a specific time frame. 
The overall project task is differentiated from a routine task by 
virtue of its: (1) requiring an unusually rapid completion timei (2) 
meeting very tight cost constraints; and (3) need to dispel 
considerable initial uncertainty among project personnel regarding 
completion methods. These three criteria underline the project's 
finite nature and emphasise the exaggerated concern for maintaining 
schedules and costs. Accompanied by numerous illustrations^ project 
management concepts such as preplanning^ project control i work 
breakdown structure # graphic management procedures^ and project 
scheduling are thoroughly discussed. Because certain evaluation tools 
can assume a reality of their own^ management intervention may be 
needed to complete tasks on schedule. The justification for using 
project manag^-ment tools may be found in improved grant management. 
(11 references) (MLH) 



• Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be n^de 

* from the original document. 



BASIC PROJECT (1ANA6B1ENT llEThKmOGfES 
FOR SURVEY RESEARCHERS 



mm 



Presented at the 1983 Meeting of NCPEA In Kalamazoo, Michigan 



Robert H. Beach 
The University of Alabama 
P.O. Box Q 
Tuscaloosa. AL 35487 



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BASIC Pf,OJECT MANAGEMENT fiETH0CX)LOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



BASIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT MrrH(K)0LOGIES 
FOR SURVEY RESEARCHERS 



INTRCHDUCTION 

With the continuing erosion of the resoirce base available fx research in the 
social sciences, especially in survey research, the requirement for maximizing 
the impact of those resoirces which ck) exist has been growing. One w^a where 
improvements in efficiency have been demonstrated is in the application of 
several well understood tools and ^proaches to the management of work. 
Specifically, the use of project management techniques has yielded cost savings 
and Increases in worfc efficiency when compared to the utilization of routine 
management practices. Unfortunately, project management, to be effective, 
requires a heav, dependence on the document, list, ^d computational capability 
of a computerized environment In the past, the use of this environment has only 
been cost effective in work efforts ^ve one or two hundred thousand dollars. 
This computing requirement has generally precluded the effective use of project 
management approaches in the social sciences and therefore has not been widely 
discussed in the recent literature. Additionally, several of the tools used in 
project management, such as the Project Management and Review Technique 
(PERT), have been applied (and taught) out of context leaving the user with 
ambivalent feelings reg^ing the tool's effectiveness. The situation is similar 
to an individual attempting a large multiple regression, by hand, without the 
level of knowledge sufficient to understand that it is a multivariate tool. It can 
be done, but not well, and would be done only once. However, the advent of 
machines such as the Macintosh 11 and the IBM 50 has radically cTianged the 
underlying problems of using project management methods for research involving 
grants in the range of ten thousand dollars and above. At the present time, the 
computer environment is often readily availabl3. Only the rediscovery of classic 
project management methodology by researchers is required for improved 
resource allocation in small research projects. This article may provide the 
reader with an overview of project management, its associated tools, and the 

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key literature in the field. 

The term project management (PM) is applied to a series of approaches to 
management and its associated tools which, with the exception of a few which 
originated in the thirties, were developed in the sixties. In this f^ject 
management methodology, the term project has a imique connotation. Here the 
project itself is viewed as an organization by which wori< is accomplished rather 
than the work or task itself. The scope of this organization can be a graduate 
student developing a dissertation or a large number of people undertaking a moon 
landing. Size is not the issue. The organization is the structure by which a task 
gets done. 

The overall project task is itself differentiated from a routine task in that it is 
viewed as meeting one of several criteria such as (1) a requirement for an 
inusually r^id completion time and/or (2) very tight cost constraints. 
Additionally, there is a general sense that (3) the task to be mdcr^-^en should be 
unique in having considerable initial uncertainty among project personnel 
regardif^ methods for completion. An experienced professor assigned to teach 
an introductory research course would not meet any of these criteria. He can 
manage this teaching assignment quite well without sophisticated management 
procedures. The graduate student working on a dissertation or a young, 
inexperienced professor performing on a small federal grant would probably meet 
all three criteria 

When the foregoing assumption of the project as organization and one of the 
'hree criteria are met, they imply a finite nature for the project That is, the 
Pi-oject is an organization dedicated to the completion of a single task. When the 
task is done, the project is finished; therefore, the project as organization will 
end at a specific point in time. This is a different characteristic from the 
non-finite nature of routine organizational existence and creates an exaggerated 
concern for maintaining schedules and costs. In a project, schedule and cost 
overruns are difficult to recover from in that, as examples, the graduate student 
can reach a point in time that exceeds graduate school deadlines for program 
<:ompletion, and the professor may not receive continued funding after the ending 
date of the grant In routine tasks, this finite termination point is usually less 
pronounced if it exists at all. Sche ules can be extended and costs can be 
absorbed by ongoing and routine activities. Also, in the non-project 

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BASIC PROJECT MANA6e1E^f^ METHODOLOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



uig«3iiii.(aitufi, THKH a idSK id cwtiipieU the organization continues and employees 
shift to new assignments. Wm\ a medium-sized grant ends, some employees 
may become imemployed These considerations give rise to a requirement for 
management practices which differ from those found in most organizations. 
These practices must be specifically sensitive to worlcing in uncertainty, with 
time and cost constraints operating in a setting where the organization 'vill 
terminate. Project management is the term used to broadly define these 
practices. 



PREPLANNING 

Project management begins when the organization required for task completion 
is established. This can come at any one of several points: prior to a Request for 
Proposal (RFP) or after a grant has been awarded. Several issues will be of 
concern at the beginning of a project A project manager will face issues such 
as: 

A What is the relationship between the project and the parent 
organization? 

- Organizational and structural relationships 

- Determination of reporting lines and the chain of command 

- Establishment of the project's priority 

- Agreement on overhead recovery by the parent organization 

- Agreement on employee equity principle (People working on a 

project are not disadvantaged vis-a-vis their position in the 
parent organization). 

- Staffing the project 

B. Does the project manager actually have the capacity to perform 
as necessary? 

- Control of schedule 

- Control of budget 

- Control of performance criteria 

When these issues are resolved, a technical planning theory known as 
"Bounded Rationality" (Simon and March, 1958; and Faludi, 1973) serve? as a 

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BASIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT rETF€{X)L061E5 FOR RESEARCHERS 



philosophic umbrella under which any one of several planning paradigms can 
be employed in developing a set of activities and events which will lead to 
the completion of the project task. This is not r^cessarily a cognitive 
process. M^agers tend to be rationalists without being aware that 
alternatives to that philosophy exist. An example of a rational process has 
been defined by Brieve, Johnston, and Young (1973). 



A. Establish Goals 

B. Determine Need 

C. Detennine Restraints and Resources 

D. Est^li^ Performance Objectives 

E. Determine Alternative Solutions 



F. Analyze Alternatives 

G. Select Alternatives 

H. Establish Objectives 

I. Evaluate Performance 
J. Modify as Required 



Project managers are not exceptional vis-a-vis rational managem^^nt. Their 
tools, if anything, are overly rational. The processes which jllow are, 
therefore, highly rational. 

When an outline of a strategy for completing the task has been established 
and selected, a process by which that strategy is fleshed out is mdertaken. 
The process is iterative with missing pieces being added as the necessity 
for their inclusion becomes apparent, and existing elements are modified as 
required. The process attempts to function in a manner which looks for the 
tangible products which must exist before the overall task is complete (see 
Kaufman, 1972 and 1988). This process avoids an arrangement by function 
which is usually an arrangement by process and not product. Figure I 
illustrates this difference. 



BASIC PFKUECT MANAGB1ENT r€TmtX)LOGfES ^OR RESEARCHERS 



Figure I: 

Two Possible Arrangements for Accomplishing a Tatsk 



W rite a Report 



0^ 



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Detailing Methodology 
And Findings 



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BASIC PmJECl ^1ANA6E^€^^T METHOOaOSlES FOR RESEARCHERS 



fmJECT CONTROL CONSIDERATIONS 

The difference between a functional and a task or end- item arrangement 
may seem trivial, however, the emphasis placed on developing the end-item 
orientation provides a considerable improvement in control. Here control 
has a specific set of requirements: a standard, a measurement, and the 
ability to take corrective action. These are interrelated requirements 
which can be modeled as in Figure 2. 

Figure 2. 

Elements of Control 



INPUTS TO PnoCESS OUTPUTS FROM PROCESS 




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BASIC Pm^CT MANAGEMENT r€TW)a)L06IES FOR RESEARCHERS 



In this iUustratlon the process uncter control produces a set of outputs. Control 
attempts to enstre that the outputs produced by the process meet all trlteria set 
f(r them. This requires a set of standouts or criteria whidi in this context is a 
plaa The outputs must be mea^red to determine what is actually being 
produced. A comparison of the outputs to the standards is then made and a 
determination is made regarding any differences between outputs and standards. 
If a deviation exists and it is necessary to bring the c jtput in Hne with the 
standi, ther ' corrective action must be taken within the process uiider control. 
As an example, consider a survey research project where a student— the process 
voider control— i£ to complete a written literattre review before the end of the 
week. The standard would obviously be m expectation of the reports delivery 
by week's end. A measure of output is made in that the report either appears or 
does not appear, if it appears, then a comparison to the standard demonstrates 
no deviation. If the report does not appear, then a deviation has occurred. In the 
latter case, if ihe report is desired, then corrective action can he taken 
vis-a-vis the student 

The emphasis in project management is on preplanning and is directed at defining 
the project's work in terms which increase control, i.e., measurable events: 
specific deadlines for tangible items as opposed to the activities which produce 
them. This is critical. Consider, in the student example above, the situation 
where the directions to the student are to "work on a literature review". The 
process becomes nebulous in that few measures of output can be made. If asked 
for the work, a typical reply might be "Well, I have it nearly complete and just a 
few more days will finish it". Real control has been lost A savvy project 
manager will even create events which are not specifically required by contract 
but without which control would be reduced. Draft documents and reporting at 
"In-Process Reviews" are typical of this procedure. 

This issue can be further illustrated where, in Figure 3, it can be seen that the 
action required to correct an ongoing deviation increases directly with time. 



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BASIC PROJECT Mi^AGBIENT firrraX)L0GfE5 FOR RESEARCHERS 



Figure 3: 

ProDortiongl Acr^or.^^ pHoulred to Correct a Deviation 




Juration of Deulatfon Before Correctiue Rction 



Preplanning provides additional benefits such as a more clearly thought through 
effort which reduces boondoggles, but maintaining control is the primary 
concera Certainly, at seme point consideration must be given to the activities 
required to produce each end-Item. Most Project Managers v^^lth experience in 
large projects will postpone this consideration as long as possible. 



The structure Illustrated in Figure lb above is therefore preferable and generally 
used. From the initial articulation of end-Items, the number of items is 
expanded with the Items required for each sub-component being entered into the 



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BASIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



organizational structure. For Instance, the Written Report (0.1) may require a 
data set (0. 1 . 1 ) and a theme/hypothesis (0. 1 .2) around which the text will center, 
etc. The format used In organizing this information is not usually that presented 
in Figure I but rather a tabular format such as that used in Figure 4. 



Figure 4 

A Requirements List 



PROJECT: RESEARCH REPORT 



End-Item Required Item Code 

Research Report 0.0 

lUrltten Repnrt 0.1 

Data set 0.1.1 

Ruestionnaires O.f.1.1 

Returned Questionnaires 0.1.1.2 

Rn analysis 0.1.1.3 

Research Questions 0.1.1.4 

Theme-Hypothests 0.1.2 

Rssembled Report 0.2 

Printed Report 0.3 



The process of expanding this list of items continues until project 
personnel are satisfied that all major requiremfcnts are listed and that the 
level of detail is sufficient to provide an understanding of what mus^ be 

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BASIC PRCXIECT MANA6ErCNT hETHCSDOLOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



done. When this is completed, the end-items are related to each other in 
temporal se quenc e. This ordering is not by specific date but is ordinal by 
sequence—first things before second things, etc. 

When complete, the list of sec^ced and prioritized end-items is converted 
to a list detailing the set of activities required to produce each end-item. 
Each end-item will have at least one activity and probably seve^l 
associated with it. Each activity will have an end, usually the end-item it 
is related to or Kiother activity as^iated with that same end-item. The 
beginning and ending of these activities termed events, and mstny events 
are related directly to the end-items in that the point in time when the 
end-item comes into existence is in itself a significant event 



mm BREAKDOVlfl^ STRUCTIRE 

From the point of a project's inception throughout the first third of its 
scheduled duration, an iteration process is conducted where, as knowledge 
of the required woric increases, a continuing deeper articulation of 
activities ^d events is developed. This includes breaking the work down 
into greater detail (lower levels) and also the adding of parameters for cost 
or for unusual requirements such as a specific facility, a unique personnel 
requirement, or special equipment. This process usually produces 2 list 
which has various and contradictory names. Typically, it is known as the 
Work Breakdown System (WBS) or the Requirements List A short list is 
illustrated in Figure 5. 



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BASIC PRO^CT MANAGB^NT rcrmDOtOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



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Figure 5: 

A Work Breakdown System or Requirements List 



PROJKT: RESEARCH REPORT 



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GRAPHIC MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES 



Host projects have enough events and activities so thft a simple listing 
fails to relate the sequencing and interrelationships between various 
project tasks. One procedure for improving the ability to relate project 
components is to present them graphically. A classic method for doing this 
is through the use of a Gantt chart which sequences sets of activities i-nd 
extends ^hem over time as illustrated in Figure 6. 



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BASIC PROJECT MANAGEhENT METHODOLOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



Figure 6: 

A Project Gantt Chart 

GANTT CHART FOR PROJECT J RESEARCH REPORT 




H. B. CD. E. 



Activity Duration ^ 

This method of arranging and displaying project information and structure 
is perhaps the most useful for the small academic research effort Little 
prior experience and little time is required to use this format. The Gantt 
chart can also be easily modified as new tasks are added and as additional 
levels of work are defined. 

However, the Gantt chart has disadvantages which can be serious if large 
numbers of tastes are being displayed. Note that in Figure 6 the beginning of 
activity 0.2 which takes place at Activity Duration Point B appears to occur 
at random. I.e., with no reference to other activities and events. Clearly, 
some aspect of the plar; of work is not being represented in this Gantt chart 
Generally, the difficulty lies in the fact that an event in 0.1 "triggers" event 
B, the start of activity 0.2. This \ti a dependency relationship where 
activity 0.2 is said to be dependent on an event in activity 0.1. This is 
illustrated in Figure 7. 



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BASIC PmJECr MANAGO^NT r€ThK)lX)L0eiE5 FOR RESEARCHERS 



Figure 7: 

Activity Interdependency Across Work Levels 



.3 - 



.2- 



.1 - 




0.3 





0.2 ^ 



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Bctiuity Duration 



This dependency of activity 0.2 on activity 0.1.1 can be shown but only at 
the expense of several of the characteristics that make the Garitt chart an 
excellent tool. The method used i£ one which splits activity 0.1 into two 
activities separated at event B. This creates a new activity in the 
illustration, it must be remembered th^t the work to be done remains the 
same and that the procedure is simply a management convenience. The 
modified Gantt chart is illustrated in Figure 8. 



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BASIC pmjEcr wmsBmi rcrraoLOGiES for researcicrs 



Figure 8: 



Isolating Activity Dependence 




Rctiuity Duration ^ 



When this divisi(m occurs, the Y or vertical axis loses any sequential 
meaning. Activities can be placed vertically at will. This procedure also 
removes the meaning of the X or horizontal axis. It is no longer a continuous 
scale and now must be interpreted as ordinal in nature. This results in a 
lack of temporal meaning for the rect^le symbol as used to represent the 
work packages. Any figure— a square, a circle, a letter -will carry the 
same information as a rectangle. The result of this change— splitting work 
packages to illustrate dependency relation^ips— gives rise to a graphic 
presentation with pieces of work horizontally arranged in temporal 
sequence and connected ty arrows which indicate the dependency 
relationships. A classic tool based on this format is the flowchart 
illustrated in Figure 9. An early introduction to flowcharting in education, 
although heavily oriented toward computing, was made by Banghart (1969). 



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BASIC PRCX^CT MANAGEMENT METHOOaOGIES FOR RE5iARCHER5 



Figure 9: 
Basic Flowchart 





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Two methods for illustrating the relationships involved in this type graphic 
are used The Flowchart, Figure 9, is an example of a format known as 
Activity on Node. The alternative is to place the Activities on the Arrows. 
L;.-;.'wrL«;.::U':/, Lf.cy ars cppos; les and tand to confuse students. Figure 10 
illustrates both these methods. 



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BASIC PFaJECT MANAGEMENT METHOOaOSIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



Figure 10: 

Two Methods of Relating Activities and Events 

— — 

nctiulty on Node 




Both methods are equally effective and each has advantages and advocates. 
Flow charts and Critical Path Method (CPM) networks use Activity on Node. 
Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) networks are usually 
Activity on Arrow. 

The discussion which follows will use Activity on Arrow format for two 
reasons. First, most readers will be unfamiliar with this format and may 

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BASIC PROJECT MANAGE^€^iT METHODOLOGIES FOR Rf SEARCHERS 



prefer to learn a different methodology from the familia' flowchart, and 
second, PERT, with its Activity-on-Arrow format, involves more 
complicated calculations than CPf^. Therefore, in understanding PERT, one 
can also work with CPM formats 

PROJECT SCHEDULING 

In using methodologies beyond Gantt charts, a project manager is most often 
seeking to deal with the interdependence ^ong activities and events and is 
attempting to provide a greater capability for scheduling. In general, one 
can considei' the ^^hic network in a PERT ch^-t as related to the Gantt 
chart The definitive text on network tools, specifically, PERT, is by 
Archibald and Villoria (1967). A fairly complete coverage of the topic, 
including the statistical procedures, can be found in this work. A simple 
PERT ch^t is illustrated in Figure 10. Several plications of PERT in 
education are discussed in Handy and Hussain (1969). Other authors have 
related PERT and similar network tools to education (Tanner and Williams; 
1981,' Hentschke, 1975; Banghart, 1969; Cook, 1964). 

However the re(^irements of PERT are that for each activity three 
estimates of activity duration be made. These estimations are made under 
an asstBnption that a sample of duration estimates for m activity will not 
necessarily be normally distributed. The distribution used for PERT 
statistics is assumed to be a Beta distribution. The statistics used in PERT 
however are heiristic in nature with many statistically unsupportable 
assumptions being made. The Justification for using PERT statistics is 
that, over time, the computations yield results in good agreement to those 
observed on most projects. In determining duration times. Equation 1 is 
used 

Equation 1: Calculating Expected Activity Duration 



te - (a ♦ 4m ♦ b)/6 



te ■ Activity Expected Elapsed Time 

a = Optimistic Time 
m= Most Likely Time 
b « Pessimistic Time 



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BASIC PROJECT MANAGBIEhfT METHOKJLOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



The Optimistic Time (a) is that estimate of activity duration which is 
optimistically short arK^ would only occir one time in one himdred 
observations of the activity s behavior under normal conditions. Acts of god 
and bizarre events are not considered in these estimates. Pessimistic Time 
(b) is similar but obviously based on the longest time that the activity can 
take. Trie Most tikeiy Time <m) is tne time most 'nkeiy to be ooserved Foi" 
an activity in which a = i, m « 3, and b «= 11 , the Activity Expected Elapsed 
Time (tg) *vould be four days. These can be related to a distribution of 

possible times as in Figure 1 1. 



Figure 1 1: 

Statistical Assumptions and Definitions in PERT 





Duration in Days 



From the a, m, and b time estimates, the activity's standard deviation is 
calculated as Equation 2 illustrates. 



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BASIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT I^TKOIX)L06IES FOR RESEARCHERS 



Equation 2 Calculation of Activity Standard Deviation 

s « (b - a)/6 s « Activity Standard Deviation 

a - Optimistic Time 
b « Pessimistic Time 

In the example where a « I and b ■ 1 1, the activity standard deviation would 
be 1.67 days. V^iaice is defined as tne square of the standard deviation. 
Both terms are used to compare activities relative to the potential for 
deviation from the Activity E)q)ected El^sed Time (tg) When calculated, 

these values are entered into the requirements list (Figure 5) as a.dditional 
activity parameters and are shown in Figire 12. 

Figure 12: 

Work Breakdown Structure or Requirements List 



PROJrcT: RESEARCH REPORT 



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ST 



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BASIC PF^ECT MANAGEMENT METH0K)L0GIE5 FOR RESEARCHERS 



With these parameters, an arrangement of activities is sought which 
focuses on the interdependency of activities and the expected duration of 
each activity. The graphic networlc used is the PERT chari illustrated in 
Figure 13 where the research report activity times are six, one, and two 
months respectively for activities 0. 1 , 0.2, and 0.3. 

Figure 13: Simple PERT Chart for the Research Report 



_ Rctiulty 
0.1 

Start 
Euent 



nctiuity 
0.2 



flctiuity 
0.3 




A visual scan of this networic indicates that the total time that will elapse 
before the end event occurs is the combination of activity times, nine 
months. Technically, this is derived by determining the time of occurrence 
for each event. The symbol (Tg) is the Earliest Expected Event Time. These 

times are calculated using Equation 3. 

Equation 3: Calculation of N-itwork Expected Event Times. 

j£ = Largest alternative of: 

(tg of a preceding activity) ♦ (Tg of preceding event) 

tg = Expected Activity Duration 
Tg =» Earliest Expected Event Time 



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BASiC PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



Figure 14 illustrates the network with the event times. 



Figure 14: 

Simple PERT Chart with Expected Event Times 



flctiultg — ^nctluity flctluity 

cf«.* \ /r ?\ 0.2 0.3 , ^ ^ 

Start ^ ^ Euent ^ J Euent i End 

Euent . . „ , . 




Start^ ° 



The interpret3tfon of this network Is that activity 0.2 Is dependent and 
c<«inoi oe aiarceu uniii acciviiy u.i compieieo. tmewise, activity 0.5 is 
dependent on activity 0.2's completion before it can be begun. It can also be 
determined that the natural elapsed time for this project is expected to be 
nine montns. 

The overall standard deviation for this network can also be wdlculated using 
Equation <. 

Equation 4. Network Standard Deviation: 



SD 



Nttwori; 



(t. (i (I ) 



n 



SD « Network Standard Deviation 



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BASIC PRCUECT MANAGEMENT MEimDOLOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



SolvtAcj for the network in Figure 14 yields a networic standard deviation of 
3.1 weeka 

The standard deviation can be used to nomnaiize the Beta distribution and 
then determine an on-time completion probability from a table of 
probability. Equation 5 illustrates these calculations. 



Equation 5: Calculation of a Network Z Score 

Z - (Ts - TE)/5n Z = Z Score 

With the printed report due on 1/6/88 (M/D/Y), the on-time probability 
would be calculated as follows, assuming a stare date of 1/10/87: 

1 - (32 weeks - 36 weeks)/ 3. 1 weeks - - 1.3 

Referring to a standard normal distribution t^le it can be observed that: 

Z score Probability 



0.0 .50 

- .5 .31 

-1.0 .16 

-1.3 .1 

The work, as designed, has only a lOi chance of being completed on 
schedule. 

WORK ANALYSIS 

It is at this point that the efforts invested in planning begin to be rewarded. 
The project manager has a means of examining the way in which the work is 
to be done and m^e changes in advance of actual operations. For example, 
the preaent network time of nine months is about a twelve percent overrua 
Two means exist for reducing the natural or expected time of this work by 

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BASIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHK)[X)L06IE5 FOR RESEARCHERS 



one month. First, the time allowed for each activity can be reduced. This 
creates a problem in that tf^ prob^ility of a successful outcome is not 
really ch^ged; only the appean^ce of an expected time equaling the 
schecKil^ time is achieved. If an activity really takes one week, then 
saying that it takes four days makes no real change. The activity will take a 
week, regardless. Shortening activities (mly works when additional 
resoirces used. The costs associated with shortening an activity 
known as "crash costs", usually stated as dollars per day of shortening. 
Figire 12 has the cost of crashing activities indicates Some guidelines 
exist f<r crashing activities, but common sense is the best approach. First, 
one cannot reduce an activity by one day if the activity only takes one day. 
The time must be there to begin with. Second, by observing, the standard 
deviation of the activity, an estimate of the ease of reducing the activity 
can be made. 

Trie second method to use in shortening a network can be seen by noting that 
the activities in the network are all sequential which is also known as a 
series structure. It m^ be possible to remove the dependency relationships 
which have been Imposed on the work by isolating the cause of the 
dependency and removing It. This may involve additional resources such as 
hiring more work*»rs, renting additional facilities, etc., or may involve 
looking at a lower level in the work breakdown structure and finding points 
where overl^ppir.g can occur. The project manager seeks to make activities 
parallel to the main flow of work. 

In the example that has been used, the level being illustrated has been the 
0.0 level. By observing the activities in the .0.0 level, it becomes clear that 
some report assembly (0.2) could take olace during the actual writing 
activity (0. 1 ). This could be done by preparing appendices, blank tables, etc., 
prior to data analysis. This implies that the network in Figure 15 is 
possible. 



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ERIC 



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BASIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



Figure 15: 

A Re-structured. Parallel, Simple PERT N3twork 




8 Months 



Tr^«= 6 Months 



This network is Interpreted as meaning that event b is the conclusion of 
activity 0.1 and activity 0.2, both of which are done in parallel. Activity 
0.2 must, however, be delayed and this is done by introducing a "New 
Activity", a dummy, shown by the dotted line, which indicates that no effort 
is required for its completion. The events are associated with different 
activities (event a is now the beginning of activity 0.2 for example) which 
is somewhat confusing, but overall the networlc Is shortened by one month. 

It should be noted that when the project's wort is performed with activities 
in parallel, a situation arises where at least two "paths" through the 
network will exist In the example these are: Start - a - b - End (which 
requires a total of 3 months), and Start - b - End (which requires a total of 
8 months). The latter, in being longer and requiring eight months, is said to 
be critical This means that any time deviation in any activity on this path 
wil' effect the completion date for the entire network. This is not the case 
for the shorter path unless the deviation is very large. It is said to have 
"slack" or "float". 

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BASIC PROJECT MANAGOiENi rinHOEX)LOGIES FOR RESEARCHERS 



By determining the critical path for the network, the project manager learr«s 
two import^t characteristics about the arraigement of work being 
proposed First, the activities on the critical path must be closei observed 
and have deviations corrected rapidly \f V overall effort is to remain on 
schedule. This is not as important for activities not on the critical path. 
Second, non-o-ltical activities may have resources, principally people, that 
can be shifted to critical path activities. This slows down tiie non-critical 
activity but this is acceptable especially if a shortening of the critical path 
is gained The procedires ifwolved in calculating slack can be refined with 
the Latest Allowable Time (Tj^) for events being determined and compared to 

Earliest Expected Event Time CTg) for that event which yields .the' value for 

slack at that point in the network. An understanding of these procedures is 
not required to imderstand the basic management concepts involved in 
project .nanagement It is, in fact, at about this point that the student 
begif:? to lose sight of the purpose in undertaking the use of project 
management methodologies— management. 

CONCLUSION 

It is possible, especially for the inexperienced research manager, for the 
PERT or CPM calculations to take on a reality of their own. The tool can 
become an end in itself, a sole reason for using project management in the 
first place. This is unfortunate, historically, and has created a feeling for 
many educator? that the effort needed to use project management 
procedures was not warranted in view of the large number of calculations 
and the heuristic natire of tht statistics themselves. Certainly, research 
grants exist for which this is true. However, whether a project has a 10 
percent or a 20 percent chance of being completed on time is not really 
relevant. The issue is that the individual responsible for completing a 
grants activity knows that the probability of on-time completion is not 
good and that management intervention may be required to complete the 
tasks oh schedule. 

The justification for the use of project management tools in research Is to 
be found in improved management. Grants can now be managed at reasonable 

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BASIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT METH0[X)L06IE5 FOR RESEARCHERS 



cost where, historically, appropriate management procedures were 
unavailable. That there are technical issues and sicills involved in an 
activity is nothing new for the researcher, and project management is no 
exceptioa If a procedure is appropriate and cost effective, it is the 
procedure to use. 



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BASIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT I1ET^«)D0L06IES FOR RESEARCHERS 



References 

Archibald, R & Villorta, R. L (1967). f^twork Based Nmagement Systems 
(PERT/CfiMl John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 

Banghart, F. (1969). E(tm:atma1 Systems Anafysf's, Macmillan Company, 
London, 

Brieve, F., Johnston, A., & Young, K. (1973). Educationaf Pfmming, Charles A 
Jones Publishing, Worthingtoa 

Cook, D. (1964). An intr&kictfon to PERT. Occmfonai Pm^er ^64^156., The 
Bureau of Educational Research and Service. The Ohio State 
University., Colt^nbus 

Faludi, A. (Ed.). (1973). A Reader in Ptannir^ Theory, Pergamon Press, 
Oxford 

Handy, H, & Hussain, K. (1959). t^twort Analysis for Educationaf 
tfana^ment. Prentice - Hall Inc., Englewood. 

Hentschke, G. (1975). Mmmgement Operations in Education, licCutchan 
Publishing Corporation, Berkeley. 

Kaufman, R. (1972). Educational System Ptarming Prentice-Hall, Englewood. 

Kaufman, R. (1988). Planning Edkjcat tonal Systems A Results Based 
Appnm^, Technomic Publishing, Inc., Lancaster. 

March, J., & Simon, H. (1959). Organization, John Wiley & Sons, New York. 

Tanner. C, & Wi 1 1 iams, E. ( 1 98 1 ). Educational Planning and Excision Making 
A View Through the (^mtizational Process, Lexington Books. 
Lexington. 



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