TMGT 458 Project Management

Question:

1. Give a brief description of “critical path”. Make sure you include the reasons why critical path is important.

2. Describe how the budgeting process was done for your project.

Is it bottom-up, top down, or program budgeting?

Who was involved in budgeting?

What was the method of estimating costs?

What steps can be taken to control costs

What steps can you take to control costs more easily?

3.Compare the pros and cons of top-down and low-down budgeting.

4. Compare and contrast different budget estimation tools and techniques for project managers.

5. Which should you estimate first: budget or schedule, and why?

Answer:

1.Critical path: It is a sequence of activities with zero slack that determines the duration of a project (thebalance 2016).

It is impossible to delay critical path activities by more than one day.

How critical path is determined: Each activity on a schedule must be below.

Information such as the name, ID and duration of each activity.

If we move forward, adding the durations of each activity with an earlier start date will result in an early finish. However, this early date plus one day will give us early start for our successor activity. Once again, adding the durations of its successor activity with an early start will give us its early finish. Also, it is necessary to calculate the total number of activities from the last activity.

The reverse path is the best. We subtract the duration from the late-finish date and the early end date of the last activity becomes its late finish.

This late-start date of the successor activity plus one day will become the late finish date for its predecessor activity. Again, subtracting duration from late end date will result in a late date.

The process of adding and subtracting duration from late finish must be repeated until the first activity in the chain.

We can calculate the early start, late finish, early finish, late start, and late finis dates for each individual activity.

Critical activities are activities where there is no difference in late finish and early finish, late start or early start, or any combination thereof. The chain of these activities is known as critical path.

This calculation is important because the identification of the critical path for any project determines the total duration needed to execute it. Also, this information provides information on which activity we should focus among the multitude of activities involved in complex project.

2.Let’s discuss my project. I need to prepare a project chart for the sponsors so that the project can begin.

Project managers use the top-down method of estimation to prepare project charters. The overall budget can be adjusted by consulting experienced consultants or using prior experience.

To prepare a budget, every organization must follow the budgeting process.

For the cost estimation, it is necessary to identify and add up direct, indirect, as well as administrative costs (dummies, 2017).

These costs are calculated using historical information, experience from previous projects, and expert feedback.

To control costs, there are several steps that can be taken.

Planning is key to controlling cost. This can be done by using past experience and lessons learned. Employees can also be motivated to make their jobs more meaningful. An analysis of current cost performance will help everyone to make the right decisions to control it. The ultimate authority, which is the top management, must also make certain decisions according to project performance (AccountLearning 2017, 2017).

3.Top-down budgeting is the process by which top management determines an overall budget. This figure is then passed to departments, and finally to each section to finalize their budget figures.

Advantages

Disadvantages

Don’t wait to prepare the budget. Instead, revert from lower levels of staff.

Non-use of feedback can lead to few errors

Lower-level can spend more time on budget estimations than their own discipline. They can instead concentrate on their core subject matter analysis.

Sometimes the budgets are not realistic because top management isn’t aware of the work required at each department to accomplish a particular job.

It is time-savings for the organization, as not all employees are required to prepare the budget.

The difference between the budget requirements and department-wise efforts of top management may lead to over or underutilization.

Participatory budgeting is also known by bottom-up planning.

Advantages

Disadvantages

Lower-level managers stay motivated because they have the responsibility to budget their department

Budgets are prepared by lower-level staff, so their control is maintained. However, senior staff may lose its control.

Due to depth knowledge in the area, it is possible to budget accurately.

Participatory meetings may combine all budgets. However, this can lead to the budget being out of reach for some organizations. This causes a lot more rework by lower managers and increases the likelihood that negotiations will also occur.

It increases the commitment level for managers

An experienced manager might not have the right budget, even though the targets are very simple to achieve.

Lower level employees may be busy with budget preparation, but senior executives can take the time to focus on the strategic level of the organization.

Because it involves many people and requires extensive discussions, it can be very time-consuming.

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