Sunday, July 5, 2009

Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart developed as a production control tool in 1917 by Henry L. Gantt, an American engineer and social scientist. Frequently used in project management, a Gantt chart provides a graphical illustration of a schedule that helps to plan, coordinate, and track specific tasks in a project.

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. Terminal elements and summary elements comprise the work breakdown structure of the project. Some Gantt charts also show the dependency (i.e, precedence network) relationships between activities. Gantt charts can be used to show current schedule status using percent-complete shadings and a vertical "TODAY" line as shown here.

Although now regarded as a common charting technique, Gantt charts were considered revolutionary when they were introduced. In recognition of Henry Gantt's contributions, the Henry Laurence Gantt Medal is awarded for distinguished achievement in management and in community service. This chart is used also in Information Technology to represent data that has been collected.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Word Breakdown Structure

work breakdown structure (WBS) in project management and systems engineering, is a tool used to define and group a project's discrete work elements (or tasks) in a way that helps organize and define the total work scope of the project.

A work breakdown structure element may be a product, data, a service, or any combination. A WBS also provides the necessary framework for detailed cost estimating and control along with providing guidance for schedule development and control. Additionally the WBS is a dynamic tool and can be revised and updated as needed by the project manager.

The Work Breakdown Structure is a tree structure, which shows a subdivision of effort required to achieve an objective; for example a program, project, and contract. In a project or contract, the WBS is developed by starting with :

  • the end objective and
  • successively subdividing it into manageable components
  • in terms of size, duration, and responsibility (e.g., systems, subsystems, components, tasks, subtasks, and work packages)
  • which include all steps necessary to achieve the objective.


S-curve

In the innovation management field the S-Curve illustrates the introduction, growth and maturation of innovations as well as the technological cycles that most industries experience. In the early stages large amounts of money, effort and other resources are expended on the new technology but small performance improvements are observed. Then, as the knowledge about the technology accumulates, progress becomes more rapid. As soon as major technical obstacles are overcome and the innovation reaches a certain adoption level an exponential growth will take place. During this phase relatively small increments of effort and resources will result in large performance gains. Finally, as the technology starts to approach its physical limit, further pushing the performance becomes increasingly difficult, as the figure below shows.





CPM


Critical Path Method, abbreviated CPM, or Critical Path Analysis, is a mathematically based algorithm for scheduling a set of project activities. It is an important tool for effective project management.

Originally, the critical path method considered only logical dependencies between terminal elements. Since then, it has been expanded to allow for the inclusion of resources related to each activity, through processes called activity-based resource assignments and resource leveling. A resource-leveled schedule may include delays due to resource bottlenecks (i.e., unavailability of a resource at the required time), and may cause a previously shorter path to become the longest or most "resource critical" path. A related concept is called the critical chain, which attempts to protect activity and project durations from unforeseen delays due to resource constraints.
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