This activity is designed to help you better understand the Critical Path Method (CPM), Network Diagrams, the Forward and the Backward Pass, the Critical Path, and Slack or Float. BEFORE you even begin this assignment, you should carefully review required reading/viewing materials, conduct your own research on the topics, and consider looking through the optional materials.
Learning to determine both the critical path and the slack/float are very important and useful skills to have when managing projects. However, it does take practice to understand and master the techniques. This assignment will give you an opportunity to practice conducting a "forward" pass to determine the critical path as well as conducting a "backward pass" to determine the total slack or float for a network diagram (Your IT RFP)
For this assignment, you will also be required to answer several questions on these topics to ensure you thoroughly understand them.
To do this, your team will need to start with the WBS created in the previous weeks. Your team will arrange the work packages (or activities as we are calling them here) in such a manner as to create a logical flow of this work.
Don't forget to consider the "dependencies"of work packages - does one activity have precedence over another? In other words, can multiple activities be conducted at the same time OR is there a sequential requirement where one or more activities must be completed before we can move forward with other activities? Review the material in task dependencies in the text and course materials. The four dependencies are called Finish to Start; Start to finish; Start to Start; and Finish to Finish.
Don't forget to consider any "lead" or "lag" time when creating your diagram. When procuring materials/supplies, you will need to account for any delays or wait time as materials/supplied are delivered.
Collectively as a group – Answer the following questions. Due this week.
- What does the critical path signify? Are the activities on this path more important than those on non-critical paths?
- What is the difference in total float and free float?
- Describe a "forward pass" and a "backward" pass. What is the purpose of knowing early start, early finish, late start, and late finish dates?
- Describe the four types of dependencies and give an example of each. What is the most common type?
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