FIN5003 Major Assignment
Weighting: 10%

A manufacturer of personal computers has recently identified time estimates, activities and predecessors to design, manufacture and market a new laptop computer. Their estimates are listed below:

Activity Description Estimated completion time (days) Immediate Predecessors
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J Prototype design
Purchase of materials
Manufacture of prototype
Revision of design
Initial production run
Staff training
Staff input on prototype
Sales training
Preproduction advertising campaign
Post production advertising campaign 90
15
5
20
21
25
14
28
30
45 –
A
B
G
D
A
C,F
D
A
D,I

Management has also provided you with cost estimates for each activity showing normal costs and crash costs as well as normal time to complete each activity and crash times.

Activity Normal Time (days) Normal Cost
($,000) Crash time (days) Crash Cost
($,000)
A 90 $2,250 85 $2,520
B 15 $180 13 $210
C 5 $90 4 $120
D 20 $300 16 $340
E 21 $231 17 $315
F 25 $250 22 $375
G 14 $70 12 $112
H 28 $392 25 $448
I 30 $510 28 $570
J 45 $1,350 41 $1,530

Task
You are tasked with preparing a report detailing a project network for the senior management of this company and addressing specific questions that the management of the company has requested (see below). The method to employ will be critical path analysis (CPM).
You are to present a report of no more than 500 words in length to the management board of the company detailing your network. Alternatively, you may present your results as a PowerPoint presentation with no more than 8 – 12 slides in total. The senior management of the company have questions which must be addressed in the report. These are listed below and must be incorporated into your report/presentation.

Points that must be incorporated into your report:
• Management have requested you to prepare an appropriate AON (Activity on Node) network diagram for this project. You should draw the node for each activity as per the examples in your readings e.g.

• Management would like to know from your project network the critical path, the length of the critical path, the earliest start, earliest finish, latest start and latest finish of each activity of the project network. You can identify these on the network diagram or summarise this information in a table if you so wish.

• Management have an incentive to bring the new computer to market as quickly as possible as they also believe that a competitor will be bringing a similar product to market at approx. the same time. As such, they would like to know what activities to crash and at what cost to bring their computer to market eight (8) days earlier than scheduled i.e. they wish to evaluate the option of crashing 8 days from the project schedule. Provide a brief summary of the information that management requires so that they can make an informed decision.

• Finally, remember that your report should not be read as a purely technical document although you can certainly present the more detailed and technical analysis in your appendices (which do not count as part of your word/PowerPoint limits). Rather, your report to the management of this company should be presented in a clear, concise and logical manner with well-argued points/diagrams/tables in answer to the questions raised.

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