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How to Calculate Project Completion Time

Background:

 

Estimating
the time it would take to complete a project could be relatively simple once
the project is of the same simple nature. However, when doing time estimations
for major projects that involve several activities, it requires a little more
intellect in order to give an accurate estimation of the time it would take to
complete the project. Proper estimation of the time it would take to complete a
project is crucial and too often projects overrun the time estimated for
completion. In fact the 2003 CHAOS studies stated that the average time overrun
for Information Technology projects for 2003 was eighty three percent
(Schwalbe, 2006). When calculating the time it would take to complete a project
it would be wise to use a network diagram to find the critical path for the
project. The critical path would be the longest path through the diagram and it
is also shows the shortest time it would take to complete the project. Using a
network diagram allows for easy calculation of the amount of time a project
would take to be completed.

According
to Heizer & Render (2008), there are two approaches for drawing a project
network, they are:

  • Activity on node – the nodes designate the
    activities.
  • Activity on arrow –the arrows designate the
    activities.

 

Objective:

 

Upon
completion of the discussion you will:

ü  Be
able to draw a network diagram

ü  Have
the knowledge to calculate the critical path through a network diagram

ü  Estimate
the earliest time it would take to complete a project

 

Discussion:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bmTd010fik

javascript:nicTemp();

The
video discusses how to calculate the critical path through a network diagram
using the activity on node approach. There are two things that needs to be done
in order to calculate the shortest time it would take to complete a project, they
are drawing the network diagram and identifying the critical path.

 

Steps
to drawing a network diagram:

 

  1. Break the project down into its major
    subcomponents (tasks).
  2. Assign a letter to each task eg. A, B, C
  3. Write down the amount of time it would take to
    complete each task eg. A – 3 weeks,

B- 1 week etc.

  1. Show how each task is related to each other and
    how long it would take from one task to another eg. A-C 3 weeks, A-E 5
    weeks etc.
  2. Draw
    a circle which represents the start of the project, then, draw an arrow
    from the start to the first activity, continue doing this until all tasks
    are represented

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Write the amount of time it would take to
    complete each activity on the arrow.

 

Steps
to identifying critical path:

 

  1. From the start of the diagram follow every
    possible path that the project could take listing the activities and
    adding the amount of time it would take as you go along

eg. start - B-E-G = 9
weeks. (Do this for each path)

  1. Select the longest path through the network
    diagram (this is the critical path).
  2. Identify the amount of time it would take along
    the critical path to complete the project.
  3. The amount of time identified on the critical
    path is the shortest time it would take to complete the project.

 

Summary:

 

Ensuring
that a project is delivered on time is critical in determining whether you
would considered for future projects. The calculation of the time it would take
to complete a project is not difficult. Once the steps above are followed you
would be able to give an estimation of the earliest time you could deliver the
project.



References

Schwalbe,
Kathy (2006). Information Technology Project Management. Canada: Thomson Course
Technology.

Heizer,
Jay & Render, Barry (2008). Operations Management . New Jersey: Pearson
Education, Inc.

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