Application of network technique in practice

For the better use of the PERT/CPM network technique some tips are given below:

Clarity: The project objectives, goals and scope should be clearly understood or defined right in the beginning. Without such an understanding, the various sub-projects and activities which need to go into the project, the various inter-relationships between the different internal and external agencies responsible for the success of the project, the time relationships and the time-to-cost relationships may not be clear during the implementation of the project and therefore, might lead to large errors that may not be fully rectified during the implementation of the project.

Control Related Organization Structure: A proper organization structure for the execution of the project should be envisaged right in the beginning of the project after clearly defining the objectives and scope of the project. The Work Breakdown Structure as outlined in the earlier discussion is an important step. Without a clear delineation of the authority structure, and without clarity in spelling out the responsibilities of the different executives within the organization and the responsibilities of various agencies contributing inputs in the project, it is almost impossible to properly coordinate the project in order to finish it within the time and cost targets .The very purpose of the PERT/CPM charts is to ‘control’ implies that somebody (executive or agency) should be clearly held accountable for his part of the project.

Details: After this responsibility delineation for the different elements of the project, it is advisable to make smaller PERT/CPM charts for these sub projects including their activities and related activities and supply the same to the persons (or agencies) responsible for the execution of these sub projects. The master-network which includes all the thousands of activities may be subdivided into a number of sub-networks.

Estimation of Time, Costs, and Other Resources:

It is important to bear in mind that time and cost estimates plays very significant role in successful implementation of the project. Since these estimates are, in the majority of cases, judgmental values, care should be taken to involve a number of concerned technical experts. Not only should the person entrusted with the job be involved in the estimation process, but also his boss and his peers. Moreover, such estimation should be done after a number of sittings so that factors not considered in one sitting may be considered in another sitting. These estimates are at the heart of the management by network analysis and therefore much care needs to be exercised. Whenever in the course of the execution of the project the time estimates prove to be wrong assumptions made in the beginning, such modifications ought to be incorporated at the review stages of the project.

Work Breakdown:

It is important to note that while identifying the activities, the work breakdown should be done to the maximum extent possible. An activity should be the smallest work component possible which makes sense for project control. The activity should not be broad like ‘digging the tunnel for a water conductor system’. Such a broad activity would not be amendable to management control. Instead, the various small elemental jobs comprising this activity should be clearly visualized in the initial planning stages. An activity should be a micro-level work component. A Chief Engineer of one of the State’s Power Boards attributes his success, in using network analysis for his power projects, to the micro-level subdivision of the projects work components. He claims that this gave him an excellent control over the projects. This is an important point which many professional management consultants forget while formulating a network for the implementation of a project. Without such subdivision many inter-relationships between different activities may never be brought to light until that part of the job presents itself’ by then it is quite late to do much.